Art Show to Benefit San Diego Border Dreamers

February 8, 2018

By Andrea Lopez-Villafaña

A local advocacy group will hold their first art benefit show in an effort to bring the community together and raise awareness to the ongoing fight for the protection of recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, also known as DACA.

San Diego Border Dreamers will host the art show, “Our Dreams Live” at Bread and Salt gallery in Barrio Logan Feb. 16, from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Between 15 to 20 artists have donated paintings, photography, mixed medium pieces, and accessories for the art show, according to organizer and DACA recipient Ali Torabi.

“I wanted to use this as a way to do community outreach as well as celebrating what we have done thus far,” Torabi said.

Proceeds from the art benefit will go toward local advocacy efforts and to sending members of San Diego Border Dreamers to Washington D.C., so that they may share their stories not only as DACA recipients but as recipients who live in a “border town.”

DACA recipients, also referred to as “Dreamers,” had temporary protection from deportation and permission to work legally in the United States as a result of the Obama-era administrative program.

When President Donald Trump announced the end of the program in September 2017, recipients were concerned for their futures in the country and some lost status due to the inability to apply for renewal.

Since then, thousands of recipients, activists, and allies have rallied for Congress to pass a clean Dream Act that will allow DACA recipients to have a path to citizenship, however, no such policy or plan has been passed.

Aside from the ongoing fight for a clean Dream Act, San Diego Border Dreamers are raising awareness to the reality of being DACA recipients in San Diego and how proposed policies could affect them specifically in ways that wouldn’t affect other recipients.

Torabi, a DACA recipient from Iran, met with congressional members during a trip to Washington D.C., and realized that the reality of recipients who live close to the border is lost in conversations of policy.

“There are a lot of concessions being made that are really putting our communities at risk,” Torabi said. “When you’re talking about advocating for disadvantaged communities you should always keep the most vulnerable communities in mind.”

He said that the narratives of DACA recipients who live in a “border town” need to be heard.

“All these talking points about border security and militarizing the border may not directly impact Dreamers from the Midwest as much as it would border town, border city Dreamers,” Torabi said.

The White House released a tentative immigration framework that would give DACA recipients a 10 to 12 year path to citizenship so long as there is funding for a border wall and increased border security, whether it be technology or personnel.

“We need to have our narratives heard so that people understand that there are certain things that we can’t concede,” Torabi said. “Militarizing the border, increase in Border Patrol, increase in ICE Agents, those things directly impact our communities and put our families at risk.”

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