NEW YORK: As the fate of DACA hangs in the balance, the Hispanic Federation is ensuring that "Dreamers" stay informed with the Know Your Rights campaign.
The campaign is reaching out to Dreamers in the Latino community through the federation’s networks both on-the-ground and online to spread information.
"We’re providing resources where they need them to feel empowered," said Jessica Orozco Guttlein, assistant VP for policy at the Hispanic Federation. "Informing DACA beneficiaries about the phase out of DACA, that it’s not ending today, and about their rights when it comes to interactions with the government and ICE."
The organization posted a video on Facebook featuring Dreamers talking about how the program has helped them, as well as a call to action to save DACA. Personal stories like those featured in the video are key to swaying people, said Guttlein.
"First, you have to inform yourself," Guttlein said. "This community is vulnerable to people who prey on these vulnerable folks. Second, is action. There a bill in Congress and we are asking everyone to call their Congresspeople to say, ‘I want the bill to pass.’"
Earlier this month, President Donald Trump ordered that DACA - the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program - would come to an end. The program, which provides protection for undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children, will begin to phase out in six months.
On Wednesday, Trump met with top Democratic Party leaders and affirmed his support for protection for the Dreamers. He clarified his position on Thursday, writing on Twitter, "Does anybody really want to throw out good, educated, and accomplished young people who have jobs, some serving in the military?"
The Hispanic Federation also partnered with Telemundo 47 to set up a hotline this week with information about what the end of DACA means. The Hispanic Federation, based in New York, is also reaching out to those affected in New Jersey, Connecticut, and Florida through its partner organizations.
"The goal is to have everybody in this community call us and know exactly what the end of DACA means with them," said Frankie Miranda, SVP at the Hispanic Federation. "We’re also holding a local event [in New York] with consultations with lawyers and helping direct the community outreach, through media partners, our networks, and our member agencies, to help those that are unable."
The organization is also updating the campaign as news emerges about the DACA policy, Miranda said. The Hispanic Federation team is assessing what the Hispanic community needs, including mental health counselors or legal advice.
"We’re adding more activity and more outreach," Miranda said. "We know the community is very scared, and we want to make sure they have the right information."