A recording of today’s event is available here.
Ahead of next week’s 5-year anniversary of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, Jessica Colotl, a leader in the fight for DACA who is vulnerable to deportation, joined Representative Luis V. Gutiérrez (D-IL), legal experts, and immigration advocates to discuss DACA under Trump and the fight to restore Jessica’s DACA status.
In early May, the Trump administration arbitrarily and suddenly revoked Jessica’s DACA status, despite no change in her circumstances. The ACLU, ACLU of Georgia, and Kuck Immigration Partners are taking legal action against the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s decision to revoke her status. Jessica, who came to the U.S. when she was 11, has been previously granted protection under DACA twice. The call took place a day before the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia will hear arguments in Jessica’s case. A video about Jessica’s story and current situation is available here. A recording of today’s event is available here.
Representative Gutiérrez (D-IL), said:
Donald Trump met with DREAMers during the campaign, and I believe they played a role in softening him to this particular group of immigrants. But he is getting too much credit for not abolishing DACA, as DACA-recipients are still being targeted by Trump and Kelly for deportation. For everyone else in this country outside the administration, this is settled, established, public opinion territory – Americans want legality and accountability in our immigration system, and they reject mass deportation. The only place where deporting DREAMers seems like a good idea is in the far corners of the Republican Party in Congress, in the Oval Office, and in the right-wing partisan media. I want to thank Jessica and let her know that I will do what I can to make sure my colleagues stand up to protect her and others in similar situations.
Jessica Colotl, activist and DREAMer whose DACA status was arbitrarily revoked by Trump administration, said:
I was shocked when my DACA was revoked. I came to the United States from Mexico when I was 11 years old, and I’ve lived my entire adult life in Atlanta. I went to college here and helped found a chapter of a sorority for Latina women. Since graduation, I have volunteered with organizations built to empower Latino students to pursue higher education, and I became a paralegal at an immigration law firm. I was able to do all of this because DACA allowed me to get a driver’s license and a work permit. With DACA, I could work, drive, plan for my future, and live a full life in the only country that feels like home for me. But now, that’s at risk. President Trump said he wouldn’t go after DREAMers, but from my experience it feels like a total change of policy from the Obama administration, like Trump’s administration came after me.
Michael Tan, Staff Attorney, ACLU Immigrants’ Rights Project, said:
Ms. Colotl’s case cast serious doubt on whether the Trump administration can be trusted when it says it will do right by Dreamers. Instead of keeping the promise it made Ms. Colotl by granting her DACA, the government has up-ended her life and targeted her for deportation. Tomorrow, we’ll be asking the federal court to enter a temporary restraining order that restores Ms. Colotl’s DACA and forces the government to give her application for DACA renewal a fair review.
Greisa Martinez Rosas, Advocacy Director and DACA-recipient, United We Dream, said:
DACA has changed the lives of nearly a million young people, and I am proof of that. Donald Trump has said that immigrant youth have nothing to worry about, and Speaker Paul Ryan has looked one of our members in the eye and promised that immigrant youth would be protected. But, the facts remain: Jessica got a ticket in her car, was jailed, had her name smeared by vengeful law enforcement officials, and then Trump’s agents lied and took her DACA away. With Trump in the White House, immigration agents are running rampant through our communities in a race-based witch hunt. The administration needs to be held accountable. Our communities are under siege, and immigrants and people of color have to watch their backs. We demand courage from elected officials. We know that justice for Jessica is possible, and we will continue to fight until we make that a reality. I am here to stay, and Jessica is here to say. Let’s make sure our communities are safe.
Claudia Acosta, Jessica’s Sorority Sister, said:
I met Jessica through my sorority before the DACA program was announced, when she lived in constant fear of detention and deportation. Her situation made the immigration crisis personal for me. She is an active member of our sorority that girls continue to look up to, because of who she is as a person – honest, humble, hard-working, and committed to the fight for comprehensive immigration reform. Before DACA, we rallied to protect Jessica, and we will do the same now. We marched for her then, and we will do so again.
Lorella Praeli, Director of Immigration Policy and Campaigns, ACLU, said:
President Trump has said that DREAMers should ‘rest easy’ and that they are not a priority for deportation, but the government’s actions in Jessica Colotl’s case tell a different story. ICE had no basis to strip her status, and every day they fail to reinstate her status is a day more that she is vulnerable to deportation. Trump and Kelly need to rein in their agents, reinstate Jessica’s status, and protect DREAMers as they promised.