Since 2012, more than 750,000 undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as children were allowed to go to school and work without fear of deportation under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. On September 5, 2017, President Trump rescinded the program and gave Congress six months to determine the fate of DACA recipients. Human Rights Watch has said, “Trump’s repeal of DACA will expose hundreds of thousands of people to deportation by a cruel and unjust immigration system.”
Moved to protect the human rights of DACA recipients, more than 80 Human Rights Watch Student Task Force (STF) leaders, teachers and guests launched the fall STF campaign at their 2017 Leadership Workshop in Playa Vista, California. Alex Alpharaoh, a DACA recipient and spoken word artist, helped the audience understand the human cost of losing the DACA program by sharing his story of being undocumented in the U.S., the country he has lived in since he was three-months-old, and the only home he knows. Participants discussed the importance of home and asked themselves, “What is our role in Alex’s story?”
To help STF discuss human rights, Priscillia Kounkou-Hoveyda, a Congolese-Iranian human rights lawyer, and Ishmael Beah, a longtime friend of STF who is a best selling author of his memoirs as a boy soldier, led some of the breakout groups.
STFers are organizing plans to bring Alex to as many schools as possible to raise awareness and stand up for the human rights of DACA recipients.