Message from the Executive Director

The Dream Is Not Ending, It’s Only Beginning

By NASWCA Executive Director Janlee Wong, MSW

The Trump Administration decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program has many thinking the “nightmare” of immigration raids and deportations has begun for this remarkable and successful group of children and adults. The National Association of Social Workers and its California Chapter say to our fellow human beings, the Dreamers, that you were brought to America to pursue a dream of success and happiness, which hasn’t ended, but is just beginning.

From the shadows, you emerged given the grace of one of our best policies—DACA.  You proved the eternal immigrant story that you and your family have contributed and will continue to contribute to our society—well beyond expectations. We won’t foresake that, and we won’t let them take you away because you are family—la familia.

Many are supporting you and working on your behalf including attorneys, educators, policy makers and social workers. Your education, employment and your life in our society will continue regardless of what the President says. If you’re going to school or if you’re working, not only will that continue, but many of us will be supporting you through protective policies and by advocating permanent immigration policy reform.

If you are fearful, anxious or depressed, social workers and others can offer you someone to talk to, and to provide counsel and encourage you. But we need you to take action too. You need not fear the light because DACA has allowed you to come out of the dark. Social workers want you to organize and fight for social justice. Start by letting everyone you know—especially those who can vote—that we demand Congress pass immigration reform legislation. This legislation must provide a pathway for Dreamers to stay permanently in the U.S. Parents and family of Dreamers must also be allowed to stay. This legislation cannot be tied to building a border wall or any form of mass deportation.

Ask everyone to contact their Congressional representatives and for them to push and keeping pushing for these reforms. Make presentations, attend community meetings, tell your story. Connect to the media to tell your story. The time for all of this to happen in the next six months.

If you need help, ask your friends and allies. If you need help contact NASW and other similar organizations. NASW can put you in contact with local social workers and others who might be able to help you organize and advocate. Let’s do this together because we are together and united. We won’t let anyone or anything divide us.

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