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Juan Escalante Reacts to the DHS Letter on DACA Confidentiality

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Washington, DC – The following is a statement from Juan Escalante, the Digital Campaigns Manager for America’s Voice Education Fund, in reaction to a letter that Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Jeh Johnson sent to Members of Congress, as reported by Politico.  The letter came in response to multiple inquiries from Democratic members of Congress, including the Congressional Hispanic Caucus and Representatives Lofgren, Gutierrez, Grijalva, Roybal-Allard, and Chu, among others.  

“I applied for President Obama’s DACA program in 2012 with the understanding that the information I gave the government would be kept confidential and not used for any reason other than to make a decision on my application.  The information I gave was extensive, including very personal details about my life and my family. I disclosed this information in good faith, understanding that a background check would be part of the application process for DACA.

“I’m pleased that DHS Secretary Johnson has reiterated DHS’ commitment that information contained in DACA applications will remain confidential.  As he notes in the letter, this is in keeping with longstanding practice, such as with deferred action policies protecting immigrant victims of domestic violence. The information DACA applicants gave to the government should only be used the way we were told it would be used – to see if we qualify for protection – not for other purposes like deportation.

“Donald Trump’s promise to cancel DACA has left immigrants like myself scared about our futures.  We’re wondering what will happen to our jobs, homes, and families if we lose the ability to work legally in our chosen careers and once again face deportation.  On top of that, we’re terrified that the government agents carrying out Trump’s agenda could use our personal information to go after us and our loved ones.

“Trump should keep DACA in place, because it works.  Immigrants contribute to the United States each and every day, and programs like DACA allow us to work legally, pay taxes, and go to school in order to give back to our respective states and communities.  I’m calling on the President-elect to keep DACA in place and to make good on the government’s commitment to keeping DACA application information confidential.”

Follow Frank Sharry and America’s Voice Education Fund on Twitter: @FrankSharry and @AmericasVoice

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