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The following is a statement from Juan Escalante, America’s Voice Community Outreach Manager and a DACA beneficiary, regarding the latest threats to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program and yesterday’s introduction of the 2017 Dream Act by Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC), on the heels of Trump’s ‘Made in America’ tour this week.
Five years ago, President Obama announced the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program and changed the lives of 800,000 young undocumented immigrants, often known as Dreamers. As a beneficiary, DACA allowed me to pursue an advanced degree, contribute to my local community, and live my life fully, free from the constant fear of deportation.
For the past six months under the Trump Administration, DACA beneficiaries have been brought back into a life of uncertainty. Many have reached out to me personally to express their concerns about what will happen to their careers, their academic studies, and their lives, if Trump terminates DACA.
My call to all my fellow DACAmented Americans: we will not go back into the shadows. We will join together, join our political allies and take a stand. Let us pledge to protect the DACA program and prevent Dreamers from serving as deportation targets for Donald Trump’s Deportation Force.
Today marks the end of the White House’s ‘Made in America’ week. Perhaps this a moment, then, to remember that Dreamers are, in fact, ‘Made in America.’ Dreamers grew up in America, went to school in America, work hard in America, and, for many of us, America is the only home we have known.
Then, thanks to our courage and with the help our allies, we won DACA. It equipped us with a driver’s license and a work permit – two invaluable tools that have allowed us to more fully give back to the country we call our own.
Now we face a moment of truth. Will our country’s leaders redeem the promise made to us when we came forward to apply for DACA? Will we be formally recognized as the Americans we already are? Will our futures be ‘Made in America?’
President Trump, you recently said that this is something you will decide. As you do, remember that Dreamers are Americans in every way but one. You supply the papers, and we’ll keep doing our best to supply the grit, brains, and pluck to make the country we love even greater.