By Valerie Ploumpis, National Policy Director
Six months ago today, President Trump upended the lives of 800,000 Dreamers and their families when he announced his plan to terminate the Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals program (DACA). He gave Congress six months to act — a deadline that seemed achievable on the one hand, but so far in the future that Congress would not be compelled to act with any urgency.
There have been several attempts to resolve the DACA crisis – some bipartisan, some purely partisan, a few stand-alone bills and others grafted onto ‘must pass’ spending legislation. But after pledging to support whatever solution Congress could come up with, President Trump did an about-face and opposed all serious bipartisan proposals. As a result, no bill secured the 60 votes required in the Senate and there has been little real headway in the House.
Since Trump’s arbitrary decision to terminate DACA, Dreamers have been living from deadline to deadline, operating on unknowns. And six months later, Congress and the White House have failed to enact a permanent solution.
On February 26, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to immediately take up two federal court cases against Trump’s termination of DACA, temporarily reinstating recipients’ rights to apply for a two-year renewal of their status. This temporary reprieve is critical because an estimated 19,000 DACA recipients have lost their ability to work, study, and live without fear of deportation since October 5. But no new applicants can apply for DACA, freezing out the many Dreamers who were not eligible to apply in the first place, could not afford the application fee, were unaware of the deadline, or were afraid to apply because of the Administration’s anti-immigrant actions.
A number of bipartisan legislative fixes are pending in Congress, and immigration activists are seeking to add protections for Dreamers to the “omnibus” spending bill.
Call your Representative right now — urge Congress to pass a permanent solution that protects Dreamers from deportation.
Until Congress acts, Equality California remains especially worried about LGBTQ Dreamers. The UCLA-based Williams Institute estimates that 75,000 Dreamers identify as LGBTQ, of whom nearly half hold DACA status. If deported, many young LGBTQ people will find themselves in countries where they have little to no legal rights and are more likely to experience family rejection, discrimination and lack of acceptance, and anti-LGBTQ violence. On top of that, nearly 80 countries around the world criminalize same-sex relationships.
We will continue fighting to protect young Dreamers, including the 75,000 who identify as LGBTQ, and all immigrant communities, while advocating for Congress to include a permanent DACA solution in the omnibus spending bill. Join us: Call your Representative, and tell them it’s time to pass a permanent DACA fix.