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Judge Hanen’s Cruel DACA Ruling Injects Urgency into Drive for Citizenship

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“The time to stand on the sidelines is over. We need everyone all in, now.” –  Dreamer and CHIRLA activist Fatima Flores


One week ago, Judge Andrew Hanen’s anti-DACA ruling threw the lives and futures of Dreamers and their families into turmoil. In turn, this cruel decision has injected renewed urgency into the drive to enact legislation that creates pathways to citizenship for the broader Dreamer population as well as TPS holders, farm workers and other essential workers.

Throughout the last week, Democrats across the party have reiterated their commitment to deliver citizenship for millions. Everyone from President Biden and VP Harris to Senator Manchin to AOC have spoken out in favor of including immigration in the reconciliation process. This includes two key committee chairmen: Senate Budget Committee Chair Bernie Sanders and House Budget Committee Chair John Yarmuth.

See here for a recap of the powerful roundtable featuring VP Harris, affected individuals and immigrant advocates.

But the most powerful voices continue to be those directly impacted. Many have been speaking out courageously, making the case for why this is the year to finally deliver citizenship.

  • Susie Lujano, a Dreamer from Houston who took part in yesterday’s roundtable event with Vice President Harris, told the Houston Chronicle: “We have to keep pushing, and that’s why we came here today: We want them to know our faces and our stories and realize we’re human beings, not numbers. We’re not an application or 1, 2, 3, 4. We’re human beings with lives and with children who rely on us to take care of them.” 
  • Astrid Silva, a longtime advocate and powerful Dreamer voice with Dream Big Nevada, tells the Nevada Current, “It’s always ‘DACA kids’ or ‘Dreamer kids’ … I’m 33. We’ve been doing this for a very long time … We are back into those shadows we were supposed to be led out of years ago. There’s still no solution.”
  • Ines Martinez is one of the Dreamers profiled in a powerful NBC News story, “Dreamers on verge of getting DACA are left hanging after latest court ruling.” Martinez, a 19-year old from California, said “I was very confident that I would be approved, because I’m a good candidate. I qualify for the program … for this to happen twice already, it’s just devastating.” As NBC describes, “She was eager to work to finish paying for her car and save enough money to transfer out of community college to pursue a degree in communications and international studies at a four-year university.”
  • Michelle Lainez, also profiled by NBC, is a Trinity Washington University student and TheDream.US Scholar from Maryland who notes, “I’m kind of tired of being resilient. I protested, I organized so much for the Supreme Court decision. And now, I must do the same for this … It keeps happening, so it’s kind of discouraging.” NBC states that Lainez had “started applying for her certified nursing assistant’s license and was waiting for her work permit to start a job as a geriatric nursing assistant.” She notes, “I had so many offers, but now that my application has been paused, I can’t even go to the interviews.”
  • Julian Cornejo, a 21-year old from Florida, also was profiled in the NBC piece and noted, “I was very frustrated and I felt very disappointed” after the Hanen ruling. NBC says he was looking forward to enrolling in college, working and getting a driver’s license once he had DACA status.
  • Fatima Flores, political director for CHIRLA, noted on social media (per the Los Angeles Times), “As a DACA beneficiary, I am frustrated and angry that our lives are once again being thrown into the fire … To my fellow immigrants: An entire movement stands alongside us. We are not alone. To our families and allies: We need you to be relentless and fight in solidarity with us. The time to stand on the sidelines is over. We need everyone all in, now.”