Calling it an “amnesty-first approach,” Donald Trump announced on September 5, 2017 his plan to phase out DACA, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) immigration program, in six months time. How are artists, especially those with close ties to the border, receiving this news? In two articles, I aimed to find out. I commissioned 10 artists—including filmmaker Natalia Almada, musician Helado Negro, land art collective Postcommodity, artist Patrick Martinez and Pedro Reyes, photographer Star Montana, and others to share their reactions. Their powerful ranged from the visceral to the poetic, from Almada's unreleased footage of children on the border, shot in 2004, to Ken Gonzalez-Day, who portended, "Ending DACA will be Donald Trump’s Trail of Tears when he forces American children who lack documentation to a country they may not remember, and more importantly it breaks up families."
For a more local angle, I commissioned an essay from Emmanuel Mauleón, a former member of the Walker Art Center Teen Arts Council (WACTAC), RISD graduate, and, currently, a UCLA law student. His eloquent contribution turned a lens on the publisher: in the face of actions like Trump's, he challenged art institutions, including the Walker, to do a better job serving as a place where—as Ralph Ellison put it—“the interests of art and democracy converge.”