On Tuesday September 5, 2017, President Donald Trump effectively ended the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, an immigration policy issued under the Obama administration that offered certain protections from deportation to those under the age of 31, who came to the U.S. as children (under the age of 16), and have continuously lived in the country since June 15, 2007. Nearly 800,000 young people have received DACA status, which essentially provides renewable legal status for two years, allowing DACA recipients to work legally and contribute to Social Security.
As noted in the Alliance for Strong Families and Communities statement issued earlier this week “[DACA recipients] have roots here and are U.S. citizens in all ways except on paper. They have made and continue to make meaningful contributions to their communities and our country. They are teachers, students, nurses, community leaders, and first responders. They contribute daily to successful businesses, productive learning communities, a strong military, healthy neighborhoods, and our economy. The announcement to rescind the protections provided by DACA has already destabilized the sense of security of thousands of families across our country.”
The DREAM Act
For 16 years, Sen. Richard Durbin (D-Ill.) has been pushing for passage of the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act. The DREAM Act outlines a multistep process for qualifying immigrant children to attain legal residency. The bill has failed to pass Congress on several occasions, which prompted President Obama to issue DACA in 2012.
In its current iteration (S. 1615), the DREAM Act would grant permanent residence status to individuals under the age of 18 who were brought to the U.S. as of four years of age from the date of enactment of the DREAM Act, have not committed a crime, and have been admitted to college, earned a high school diploma or GED certificate, enrolled in a secondary school. Those that were granted DACA status would also be granted permanent residency.
The Alliance calls on Congress to make it a priority to pass legislation that signals to the DACA recipients that their country—their home—remains a place where they have safety, security, and every opportunity to continue to realize their full potential.
Urge Congress to support the bipartisan DREAM Act. Lend your support by joining the sign-on letter being spearheaded by the national nonprofit CLASP. Read the full letter of support.
Let the Alliance know your interest on this issue by emailing Carla Plaza, director of public policy at the Alliance.