SEIU regional President Contreras leads Dreamers demonstration at White House

WASHINGTON—The “Dreamers” and their allies, including their union allies, took their case and their cause to Donald Trump’s front door on August 25. But though they “knocked” verbally, nobody seemed to be home.

Though the U.S. flag flew over the White House on a sunny breezy late afternoon, signifying the Republican president was in residence, he sent nobody out to answer the more than 100 people who campaigned for retention of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA), the Obama-era initiative that lets the Dreamers stay in the U.S.

The lack of response did not surprise the group, led by Service Employees Local 32BJ regional President Jaime Contreras, a Navy veteran who would have been a “Dreamer” himself 29 years ago, escaping El Salvador’s civil war at age 30 and illegally entering the U.S., “because my parents didn’t want me to get killed.” He’s now a naturalized citizen.

Instead, the group, which included church members, union members, Latinos, Latinas, and Asian-Americans, all demanded Trump keep the Dreamers in the U.S., rather than kowtow to his white supremacist constituency and deport them.

Trump’s response? At almost precisely the same time, he pardoned Hispanic-hating former Maricopa County (Phoenix) Sheriff Joe Arpaio, convicted of contempt of federal court and threatened with jail for refusing to halt his agency’s racial profiling of Latinos – document-ed and undocumented — and their jailing in inhumane conditions in the Arizona desert.

But Trump’s threat to DACA brought the program’s supporters out, for the second time in ten days.

“It’s a shame for me what Donald Trump and his white supremacists” have done, Contreras said, referring to the president’s searing support for the white supremacists, KKK members, neo-Nazis and other haters whose riot in Charlottesville, Va., on August 12 murdered one young white counterdemonstrator, Heather Heyer, and injured 19 other people.

“Donald Trump! Shame on you!” the D.C. crowd responded.

The Dreamers, and their parents, are among the people the Charlottesville haters screamed about.

Back in D.C., rhythmically banging drums and cymbals, carrying signs and telling their stories, the Dreamers and their allies made it clear that if Trump, whose anti-Latino prejudices have been long-lasting and obvious, carries out his threats to deport the estimated 11 million undocumented people in the U.S., including the Dreamers, he and his political allies would face resistance in the streets and retribution at the polls.

“The whole world is watching and we are watching. We are angry and we are going to turn this into votes this year in Virginia,” where the governor’s seat is up for grabs, “and next year across the country,” Contreras told the crowd.

And as for the resistance in the streets, he added: “In our union, when we fight, we win.”

Added a woman speaker: “They want us to be afraid. They want us to stay home and not speak up. We will speak up.”

Trump has stalled on evicting the DACA cardholders, who are in jobs, in school or in the military, due to public pressure, said one, Graca Martinez. “We are mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers and teachers and yes, community organizers. The DACA papers have never defined us. They’re helpful, but we’ll fight tooth and nail to defend our democracy,” she added. But “if Donald Trump ends DACA, it’s another sign that white supremacists have taken over the White House — and we will not let that happen,” Martinez vowed.

Source: PAI