The June 2012 promise was clear: if young undocumented people identified themselves under Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals (DACA), they would be exempt from arrest and deportation, and free to continue their studies, military service, or jobs.
Over the next four years, some 800,000 Dreamers shook off their fears and registered their names, addresses and family members, paid a $500 fee, and got on with their lives. Many of their parents did the same in 2016 by registering under a parallel program, Deferred Action for Parents of Americans (DAPA), which granted three-year, renewable work permits and exemption from deportation. For the first time in decades, hundreds of thousands of people felt safe.
Trump’s shocking win last November reinjected fear into these homes. Soon after the election, he began throwing red meat to his anti-immigrant base by issuing contradictory statements regarding Dreamers and their parents – at times toying with them by suggesting they would be safe because of his “great heart,” but soon after talking tough about deporting anyone who had entered the US illegally.
Today’s announcement by Attorney General Jeff Sessions rescinding DACA on the grounds it is unconstitutional, means that any unprocessed applications will be rejected and refunded. An “orderly, lawful wind-down” will take place over the next six months, Sessions said, in order to give Congress an opportunity to act.
Several DACA-related bills are pending in Congress. As Equality California urged in our letter to every Member of the California Congressional delegation last week, Congress must act quickly within this six-month window to protect Dreamers who are American in every way but for citizenship by cosponsoring the bipartisan Dream Act (H.R. 3440) and the American HOPE Act (H.R. 3951). We are pleased with the leadership shown by Senators Dianne Feinstein and Kamala Harris in their early support for the bipartisan Dream Act bill pending in the Senate (S. 1615).
Equality California estimates that there are about 250,000 LGBTQ undocumented people in California alone and more than 12,400 minor children of LGBTQ couples in which neither parent is a citizen. We welcome the dozens of lawsuits that will be filed on behalf of Dreamers in the weeks ahead.
Comprehensive immigration reform is long overdue, but in the interim, dozens of major US corporations have spoken out to protect Dreamers, as have state and local officials, sanctuary cities, faith and civic leaders, and many law enforcement officials. These statements of support are welcome – more than 300,000 Dreamers are at risk of deportation.
Our country was built by immigrants and our arms must remain outstretched to their contributions and vitality.
Fwd.US — https://www.fwd.us/
Center for American Progress — https://dreamacttoolkit.org/
DHS – FAQs — https://www.dhs.gov/news/2017/09/05/frequently-asked-questions-rescission-deferred-action-childhood-arrivals-daca