Don’t Get Your Undocumented Friends in Trouble: A How-To
Posted March 2, 2017, written in collaboration with local leaders from the Washington Dream Coalition, an organization led by undocumented youth.
Many US Citizens take our citizenship for granted. It’s something most of us never worry about or think about, and the majority of us have never experienced life without it. As a consequence, we are incredibly out of touch with what privileges come with citizenship and what our impact as citizens can have on our undocumented friends and neighbors.
If we are serious about defending DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) , organizing against ICE raids and detention centers, and exploring other ways to exercise allyship with undocumented folks, there are precautions we must take.
Organizing against deportations and the forces that carry them out is not like campaigning for a candidate, an initiative, or other causes we may all have experiences with- the risk is much higher. While organizing efforts may very well include politicians and initiatives, the nature of the work means that if we are not careful, we can literally get our colleagues, friends, and their families locked up or deported.
*You should not consider the following list legal advice nor an exhaustive list of precautions to take. If there are undocumented people in your lives or on your campaigns, someone should be reaching out to get familiar with their personal boundaries, risk levels, and safety plans.
[Bullet points from the list]:
1. Don’t “out” people who are undocumented.
2. Don’t “out” areas where undocumented people live.
3. Don’t prioritize appearing as though you are “centering those most affected” above not getting those “most affected” deported.
4. Don’t list build if you don’t have to.
5. Protect your lists as if your own deportation depended on it.
6. Don’t put YOUR OWN name on lists.
7. Some things you can do on your own, in secret- and you should.
8. Understand that Homeland Security, ICE, and other federal agencies are not like your local police department.
9. Stop fucking inviting your undocumented friends to the detention center.
10. Do not communicate about sensitive issues around documentation, immigration, etc on phones or digital devices, let alone the internet.
11. This includes your encrypted apps like Signal.
12. This includes your email servers like RiseUp.Net.
13. This includes Slack.
14. I DON’T CARE WHAT YOUR CODER OR ANARCHIST FRIENDS SAID. DON’T TALK ABOUT SENSITIVE SHIT ON THE INTERNET.
15. Do not spread information that you are not COMPLETELY SURE is accurate and verified.
16. Do not post media of undocumented people on social media. Only videotape what is necessary and destroy what isn’t needed.
17. Take the time to understand all the risk undocumented people face and how they are treated differently in the legal system.
18. Don’t ask undocumented people to take coordinated arrests.