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Immigration Advocates and DACA Eligible Immigrants Discuss SCOTUS Ruling

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A recording of the call is available here.

Earlier today, experts gathered on a press call to discuss where things stand, what DACA recipients and those potentially eligible for DACA should be doing now, and what the Administration and Congress should be doing to implement the Supreme Court’s recent ruling on DACA. The Trump administration has made cruelty toward immigrants a center point of his presidency since day 1. It’s not surprising that in the wake of the Supreme Court ruling in support of immigrants, DHS and the White House have not taken any steps to clarify what comes next for those eligible for DACA who have been in limbo for the past three years. Especially considering that USCIS, the agency responsible for processing renewals and applications is set to be hit with massive furloughs next month, it is imperative to hold the administration accountable for abiding by the SCOTUS decision that came down exactly two weeks ago today.

Sanaa Abrar, Advocacy Director at United We Dream, said, “As of right now, the Department of Homeland Security has not issued any guidance on if they’ll be accepting new DACA applications from people who were either too young to apply at the time, or didn’t get the chance to apply before Trump tried to end the program in 2017. And while this ruling was undoubtedly a victory we know that it is not permanent. Within hours of the ruling from the Supreme Court, Trump signaled that he would try again to end the DACA. Trump must stop attacking DACA, and instead follow the Supreme Court ruling and instruct USCIS to start accepting new DACA applications and continue allowing current DACA recipients to renew their work permits and protections from deportation.”

Leidy Leon, DACA eligible 18-year-old and member of United We Dream, said, “Now that the Supreme Court ruled against the Trump administration, the possibility of me being able to apply for DACA for the first time feels much more real. Applying for, and being approved for DACA, would mean I would be able to be protected from the threat of deportation, and also receive a work permit. Getting DACA would minimize my anxiety and make it easier to plan for my future during and after college. And I’m not the only one who would benefit. That is why Trump must instruct USCIS to immediately start   accepting first time applications and restore DACA to its original state before it was terminated.”

Lee, non-DACA recipient and member of CHIRLA, said, “I’m a recent graduate of UCLA. I’m a first generation Korean-American immigrant. My story can be unique in the sense that I became undocumented during college. Growing up, I had a lot of privileges that allowed me to go to college. However, when I lost those privileges, I had to start navigating the world of being undocumented. While going through the immigration system, I’ve noticed that it often doesn’t favor the work of people of color. The system is designed to put folks like myself in a difficult position, forcing us to live on two-year work permits. Which is why I decided to study law. I know DACA will help me obtain my degree, but it is not enough. We fight for DACA today, while keeping our eyes on all-inclusive immigration policies.”

Ignacia Rodriguez Kmec, Immigration Policy Advocate at the National Immigration Law Center, said, “The Supreme Court’s decision on DACA is a huge victory for the about 650K young immigrants in our country who grew up here and know no other nation as home. Yet while we celebrate this victory, we know that our work only continues.Despite the Supreme Court opinion, no one is certain about what will happen with DACA under the Trump administration. We encourage everyone to visit https://www.nilc.org/daca/ or dacadecision.com to find guidance on the Supreme Court decision and resources for next steps.”

Ur Jaddou, Director of DHS Watch and Former General Counsel at USCIS, said, “USCIS is the agency that processes all of the DACA requests and legal immigration related documents. Just 3 ½  years into the Trump administration, the administration suddenly went running to Congress saying it was in major debt to the tune of $1.2 Billion and would have to furlough ⅔  of its staff. A furlough this large could take what we’re now experiencing as month-long and year-long waits for renewals of status, including DACA, and other renewals processed by USCIS, and it would grind to a halt. The Trump administration is blaming COVID, but nothing is further from the truth. Had the administration been more fiscally responsible and not chosen xenophobic ideology over fiscal responsibility, these furloughs would not be happening. It is directly the choices of this administration that has brought this agency to a crashing halt. A furlough this large will cause major long term damage to our legal immigration system.”