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Home is Here Coalition and Members of Congress Urge President Biden to Expand and Strengthen Protections for Millions Now!

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Washington, D.C. —  Today, the Home is Here coalition held a press conference ahead of the 12th anniversary of DACA to call on President Biden to expand and strengthen relief for DACA recipients, DACA-eligible youth, and their communities before a potentially catastrophic 5th Circuit Court decision this year. 12 years ago, the fierce organizing power of directly-impacted Black, brown, and LGBTQ+ immigrant youth fought to win protections for hundreds of thousands of people through the DACA program. Since then, our communities have come together through the Home is Here coalition to defend DACA against countless attacks, including at the U.S. Supreme Court in 2020, and will continue to fight to ensure millions of our loved ones have the freedom to live with dignity in the places we call home. 

At today’s press conference in Washington D.C., Senator Alex Padilla, Representatives Sylvia Garcia, Rashida Tlaib, and Delia Ramirez joined the Home is Here coalition in urging the Biden Administration to pursue all possible administrative measures to deliver expansive and inclusive relief for millions across the country. This includes providing consecutive and automatic DACA renewals, expanding parole-in-place programs, TPS, and DED, clearing visa backlogs, and increasing or eliminating visa caps. The Home is Here coalition also urged the Biden Administration to provide parole for additional groups, including immigrant youth who were never able to have DACA applications processed, spouses of U.S. citizens, and family members with pending visa petitions.

Photos from today’s press conference can be accessed here. All credits to United We Dream.

Greisa Martinez Rosas, Executive Director of United We Dream, said:

“As we mark 12 years of DACA this week, our communities celebrate the undeniable organizing power of directly-impacted immigrant youth whose courage led the fight to win DACA over a decade ago. In the face of calculated assaults by the right, endless battles in the courts, including at the Supreme Court, it has been the vision, power and courage of Black, brown, and queer immigrant youth that have delivered monumental victories that many once thought were impossible, including DACA.

Still, across the country, thousands of our loved ones languish in detention centers while millions of others continue to be cruelly left out of DACA and face the threat of deportation every day. This anniversary grounds us in this truth that we cannot stop fighting until everyone in our communities has the freedom to live, thrive, and exist in the places they call home without being attacked. No matter how hard MAGA extremists have tried to hurt us –and tell us we don’t belong– we’ve organized, strategized and fought back with greater tenacity and strength to keep our communities safe. DACA has changed our lives by providing hundreds of thousands of people with the freedom to work, protections from deportation, and helped keep our families together. 12 years later, our power has only grown stronger with the support of millions of Americans who know our home is here. Together, we demand President Biden be on the side of keeping our families together and deliver inclusive protections for millions now.”

Yuna, a Research Associate and DACA Recipient with America’s Voice said:

“Although DACA has provided me with opportunities, such as being able to attend college and work with dignity, it has never been sufficient to ensure protection from the increasing risk of deportation. I, along with my family and millions of other DACA recipients, should be able to feel safe in the place we call home, free from the ever-present shadow that we are one policy away from being stripped from friends and loved ones. With the future of DACA now in the hands of the conservative 5th Circuit Court, there is no time for the Biden Administration and Congress to wait around. We need permanent protections now. Our immigration system is broken, and further inaction from the Biden administration and Congress will make it worse.”

Pamela Chomba, Director, Special Projects (Border, Asylum, and Migration) of FWD.us said:

DACA’s possible termination would be devastating to hundreds of thousands of families like my own, and to the broader U.S. economy: leading to horrifying family separations, hundreds of thousands of job losses, and devastating harms to our communities and the U.S. labor force. Nearly one million U.S. citizen family members, including 90,000 spouses and 300,000 children of DACA recipients, could face potential separation from a loved one with DACA, and our economy could lose up to $648 billion. The stakes have never been higher. As DACA faces potential termination, President Biden must act to protect American families with affirmative relief without delay.

Joan Agoh, Communications Specialist with Justice Action Center, said:

“It’s the power of the people that brought us DACA, and defended it over the last 12 years, from district courts to the 5th circuit. This fight to protect and enhance DACA is a fight to protect our siblings, our friends, our neighbors and teachers. Us immigrant youth from all walks of life are watching closely. We’re here because this administration and Congress can and must pass protections to ensure that the hundreds of thousands of people with DACA and the millions more affected by the state of this program can see a better, stable present and future. They can take action today to provide consecutive and automatic DACA renewals. They can expand parole-in-place programs, TPS, and DED, clear visa backlogs and efficiently process advance parole applications. Till we all have the freedom to move, to stay, to welcome and to thrive, we’ll keep showing up and demanding the safe and abundant futures we deserve.”

Madeleine Villanueva, Higher Education Manager of Immigrants Rising said:

“I have been able to feel some sort of stability and control because of DACA, and have even had the opportunity to see my last living grandparent for the first time in 22 years through Advance Parole. I consider myself lucky and recognize these privileges and all the benefits DACA has brought to those in the community. I also know everyone should have the right to see their loved ones like I did and to have stability in their lives. DACA is in the hands of a court that has ruled against us — So this 12th anniversary of DACA, I call on the Biden administration to join us in creating real solutions for our community. Take action to expand and strengthen relief for millions, including DACA recipients, DACA-eligible young people, and especially those who have been deemed ineligible due to arbitrary rules. We need action now — we deserve to not just survive in this country, but actually thrive.”

Diana Pliego, Federal Advocacy Strategist with the National Immigration Law Center, said: 

“If it hadn’t been for DACA, I would not be where I am today. With DACA, I was able to continue my education, start a career, and live free from the fear of being sent to a country that I don’t know. It allowed me to stay where I call home and where I belong, with my family and friends. The future of so many hangs in the balance. Our leaders must exhaust every resource they have to deliver a pathway to citizenship and protections for immigrant youth and their families.”

Leo Murrieta, Executive Director with Make the Road Nevada, said:

“For over a decade, DACA has allowed countless young people to live and work in the only country they’ve ever known as home. Yet, the constant attacks and judicial battles threatening to strip away these temporary protections have shown that this is not enough, and we need to provide permanent solutions to DACA-eligible and non-eligible youth. As we get closer to the 12th anniversary of DACA, we urge the Biden Administration and Congress to act now. Half measures are no longer enough. We need comprehensive measures to safeguard DACA-eligible and non-eligible youth to ensure a future where they can continue contributing to our communities without fear.”

Isaias Guerrero, Senior Campaign Strategist of NAKASEC, said:

“During the beginning of this presidency when we were fighting for legalization for millions of people, I would call my dad every week to give them the latest political update.  He would tell me, “I don’t want you to bring the green card to my grave”.  He has cancer in his blood and hasn’t been back to Colombia for 23 years. And like him, there are 11 million fathers, mothers, sons and daughters who haven’t hugged their loved ones in years. If we, the United States, truly believe that families should be together, that people should live a life where they can work and have happy lives, then President Biden must deliver relief that honors these values. The President can expand parole in place programs, TPS and DED and pursue many  other popular  executive reforms to help  millions get on a path to legalization and have the stability in their lives to be safe from the threat of deportation and know they can be with their loved ones. Every day that passes without action puts families at risk and erodes the communities that actually connect our country together.  I urge President Biden, do your job, be true to what this country is about, and be on the side of keeping families together.”