Ending Protections for 'Dreamers' Weakens All of Us

Today, the Trump Administration ended the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. We believe this is a short-sighted and damaging action which the Land Stewardship Project opposes.

Since DACA was started in 2012, the program has provided legal protection for nearly 800,000 undocumented immigrants who came to the United States as children. These people and their families, the great majority of whom have come from Mexico, Central America or South America, have contributed greatly to our country. Many LSP members know “Dreamers,” as they are called — these are young people who have grown up in the community. They are proof that we are stronger as a country when all of us are secure — and weaker when we live in fear.

But today, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced that the federal government is ending DACA over the next six months. The Land Stewardship Project opposes this action by the Trump Administration. It is the worst kind of political scapegoating—the kind that blames these newer immigrants for the problems of the country.

LSP knows that immigrants make our country stronger. Our nation continues to be built by the people who come here, often fleeing from oppression, war and deprivation. We know that our future is tied together. And it is only with people coming together—rural and urban, across differences in race, age, religion, gender, occupations and backgrounds—that we can achieve the type of change we need. Those changes include more family farmers taking care of the land; the ability of young people, native-born and immigrants alike, to get started farming; strong, vibrant communities with the resources and decision-making power to shape our own destinies; and policies that put people, not corporate interests, first.

LSP’s Board of Directors, in 2010, wisely developed an organizational Statement on Racial Equity. It stated in part:

"Throughout our nation's history, we note that times of deep economic uncertainty have often fueled bigotry, scapegoating, anti-immigrant sentiment and racist public policy. In this current economy, we have already begun to see these elements take root once again.

"We urge LSP's staff, board and members to now begin to speak out evermore clearly on matters of economic and racial injustice, to do so with a depth and public commitment we have not exercised before, and to use this opportunity as a way to point out, for both our members and the general public, examples of economic and racial injustice in a way that teaches about the unfairness of our current system and helps pave the way for a society based on stewardship, sustainability, economic justice and racial equity."

This is why we must speak out on matters of economic and racial injustice, like the ending of the DACA program. As we do so, LSP will continue to educate and organize around the issues that matter to our members and our growing numbers of supporters in the Upper Midwest. From helping new farmers get started successfully to stopping factory farms, from building soil health to building the health and effectiveness of our democracy and the prosperity of our communities, we will continue to put our shoulders to the wheel to create a more sustainable and just food and agriculture system. We will not let up.

The work ahead for all of us is incredibly important, and won’t be easy. But as we build a broader movement, working with us will be members of other organizations that represent other constituencies, including organizations of color, religious organizations, labor organizations, and other people’s organizations like LSP. We stand with others in their struggle for justice, health and a shared prosperity, and they stand with us. We’re strong together, not divided.

I urge you to contact your members of Congress and tell them you want the DACA program re-instated. Here’s a good link that will get you to a page with your U.S. Representative and U.S. Senators. Give them your reasons. And don’t let up.

LSP executive director Mark Schultz can be reached via e-mail or at 612-722-6377.