In 2017, shortly after the Trump administration first announced its plans to terminate DACA, Catalyst launched “Immigrant Justice Movements in the Time of Trump,” a curriculum to support non-immigrants, and especially white people, to take action in solidarity with immigrant communities. We were inspired to build this curriculum by growing popular outrage over Trump’s xenophobic and racist anti-immigrant policies, and our belief that white people have more than a responsibility to fight back, but a strategic role to play in building the multi-racial movements we need for transformation. Today, in the spirit of supporting and contributing to that work, we share an updated version of that curriculum, “Immigrant Justice Now!” Use it. Make it your own. Then, organize.
In the two years since we released the original curriculum, Trump has made little progress in realizing his hallmark campaign promise to build a wall along the US/Mexico border. But, guided by white nationalist figures like Stephen Miller, his administration has continued to work relentlessly to build, through policy, an “invisible wall.” These efforts have had a chilling and deadly impact, particularly for undocumented people, poor and working class immigrants, and people seeking asylum. On an almost weekly basis, new international agreements and administrative rules have targeted specific populations, like a revised “public charge” rule that has created fear and confusion about the immigration impacts of accessing public benefits, the so-called safe third country agreements that have effectively shut Central Americans out of the US asylum process, and an increase in application fees for citizenship and asylum. These developments send a clear message: if you’re not wealthy, if you’re not white, you’re not welcome.
Meanwhile, the administration continues to deepen the conditions that lead to forced migration–abdicating political action in the face of climate crisis and catastrophic global economic inequality, and further consolidating right-wing power around the globe.
Immigrant rights organizers have been fighting tirelessly against this repression, scaling up decades-long community defense efforts and challenging the implementation of each new law that emerges from Trump’s racist regime. They have seized on public outrage over family separation and the caging of children to shift the narrative away from notions of “good” and “bad” immigrants and advance bold demands for decriminalization, decarceration, and dignity for all immigrants, regardless of status. For example, the California Immigrant Youth Justice Alliance recently won passage of a law that bans the state of California from entering into new private prison and detention center contracts, showing the power of solidarity and the viability of bold popular demands in this political moment.
Today, the future of DACA is in the hands of a Supreme Court that increasingly sides with Trump on immigration. The 2020 election cycle promises to unleash more hateful rhetoric that frames immigrants as threats to US sovereignty and the safety of white communities. We have seen already how quickly this rhetoric translates into actual violence on Black and Brown communities by stoking white resentment and distracting from the actual root causes of the crises we’re living through. White people of conscience have a responsibility to push back against narratives that pit us against our immigrant neighbors and to condemn anti-immigrant violence in all of its forms. The time for white people to engage in principled, anti-racist solidarity with immigrants is now. Whether you’re doing this work already, or are thinking about how to get started, we hope you will use this curriculum to advance and bring more people into your organizing. You can find the curriculum here, now available in 4-hour and full-day formats.