Download a printable version of this Thanksgiving Toolkit here.
For many of us, Thanksgiving is when we spend welcome time with friends and family. It is also a time when we are asked to think about what we’re thankful for. In a year when so many members of our communities are under constant attack and living in fear, all of us at Hand in Hand are dedicated to connecting our gratitude to efforts to create communities that are safe and welcoming for everyone.
There is one issue that is urgently important to millions of people, broadly supported by people on both sides of the political aisle, and easily fixed through legislative action: We need a just and humane immigration policy for everyone. Congress needs to pass a “clean” DREAM Act by the end of the year.
Permanent protection for undocumented youth is what we should ALL be talking about this Thanksgiving.
But how can you help? There are plenty of concrete, tangible ways to have an impact right now — not just to resist hate and bigotry, but to cultivate love and solidarity.
Use this toolkit to support your conversations with friends and family this Thanksgiving. Let’s follow the lead of the Dreamers, boldly demanding the protections they deserve while refusing to negotiate away the rights of any other vulnerable communities. Let’s work our hearts out to pass a clean DREAM Act and get permanent protection for undocumented youth this year.
What is DACA and why does it matter?
People protected by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA) are immigrants brought to the United States as children. They are often called DREAMers, in reference to the DREAM Act (Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act), first proposed in 2001 but still never passed, which would have granted them citizenship.
Most DREAMers are either studying or working, and are integral parts of their workplaces, schools and neighborhoods. Take a look at this map to see how many DACA recipients are in your state, and how much they contribute every year in state and local taxes.
What is a “clean” DREAM Act?
Right now, many Republicans are trying to add other, harmful immigration changes to the DREAM Act as a condition for supporting it. That means that a Mexican-born Dreamer like Lesli Gonzalez, 22, would be protected, while her 17 year old cousin Doralinda, a refugee who fled extreme violence in Guatemala, would not.
The cousins’ story is told in an article, Trump’s Cruel Choice: Who Gets to Stay?
“To Ms. Gonzalez, this cruel Catch-22 is not a trade-off that Congress should be forced to make: securing legal status for people like her while throwing Doralinda to the wolves. It’s not just a choice for Congress. This moment should force a reckoning for everyone in this country. Are we going to use child refugees running from harm as a negotiating chip?”
-Sonia Nazario, New York Times
A clean DREAM Act would not include additions to the bill that harm immigrant communities—like increased enforcement measures and deportations, or providing money for a border wall. The best way to do this is by adding permanent protection for undocumented youth to the budget bill which must pass by December 8th.
How do I have courageous conversations with people I love?
Let’s use our time together over the holidays to have these important conversations and build our capacity to not just act individually but to move our family and friends as well.
It might feel hard or daunting to have this conversation, especially with family members who often don’t agree with us, but if there was ever a time to have courage, be bold, and bring our values close to home, it is now. Here are some tips for having the conversation:
Bringing up the subject
If someone asks about how you are doing, use that opportunity to share what’s really on your heart and mind. For example:
“I’ve been reading a lot of about DACA lately, and I am feeling really [sad/scared/upset] about what’s going to happen. I’ve been trying to do what I can to encourage Congress to come up
with a solution. Have you heard about DACA?”
“I read a striking story about two cousins who may be separated unless DACA gets passed through congress… has anyone else read that story?”
“A friend of mine who has lived in this country almost her whole life, and knows nothing of the country she was born in is now living in fear of having her entire life taken away from her…
Can you imagine what that must be like?”
Putting our Values into Action
Ask your loved ones to take action to protect other families:
Can each person at your Thanksgiving table commit to calling their Congressional Representative to ask them to vote to pass a clean DREAM Act before the end of the year?
Call 1-844-641-3873. We provide all the instructions and a script - all you need to know is your own zip code! To make it easier, you could ask everyone to do it at the same time — maybe during the break between the meal and dessert. Then, when you’re done, take a picture of everyone at your Thanksgiving table making calls and post it to us at Facebook.com/domesticemployers or tweet it with the tag #SanctuaryHomes.
VISIT YOUR MEMBER OF CONGRESS
Members of Congress are working in their districts from November 16 - 26. Plan a drop in visit —anyone can do it!
1 Call your district office and ask for an appointment.
2 Prepare the reasons you believe they should support a clean DREAM Act.
3 Stop by whether or not you are able to set the appointment up.
4 If you are able to meet with the Member, that is ideal, but if not, share the reasons with a staffer.
5 Share your story on social media and with us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Let’s be sure all Members of Congress know just how critical this issue is to all communities.
Invite others to join #SANCTUARYHOMES AND THE FIGHT FOR A CLEAN DREAM ACT
We believe that our politics begins at home, and this is especially true on the topic of immigration. Immigrants do so much of the work that our country relies on, from helping families raise children and support seniors to harvesting the food on our tables. These impact our home, and we should make sure we’re doing the most we can do ourselves at the same time that we ask our nation to do what’s right and fair.
If you employ a domestic worker, you can use our conversation tips for talking to your employee. If you don’t employ anyone in your home, these tips could also be useful for other conversations with people in your community.
Find tips about having the conversation at mysanctuaryhome.us/conversation
Have information ready for people to take with them
At the end of this toolkit are window signs and info sheets for calling Congress. Having these with you will make it easier for you to help others take action too. You can even cut the phone-call instruction sheets included here and tape to them to Tupperware containers of leftovers to send home with people!
Opportunities for additional action
Thanksgiving! Talk to your friends and family about clean DREAM Act and ask them to join you in pressuring congress
November 16 - 26
Congressional Recess perfect time for drop in visits or actions!
Nov 27 - Dec 8
Congress back in session, elevate pressure for Congress to pass a clean DREAM Act
Mobilization for a Clean DREAM Act to Washington DC. Look for an event where you live: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1hqftDBSJmvrx2ULGuAkMM2yfBsejg06aFOfmIhHSnMA/edit#gid=0