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Legal Experts, DACA-recipients, and Advocates Provide Latest State of Play in Immigration Policy

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A recording of today’s call is available here. 

Washington, DC – DACA recipients, legal and policy experts, and immigration advocates assessed a busy week of developments in immigration policy and issued a renewed call for a clean Dream Act without militarization of our borders. A recording of today’s call is available here.

Itzel Guillen, Border Dreamer and Immigration Integration Manager with Alliance San Diego, a member of the Southern Border Communities Coalition, said, “As Border Dreamers, it is unconscionable that we would accept any deal that essentially trades our safety for that of the safety of our family members and neighbors. One out of every five DACA recipients lives in the border region, and almost half of all DACA recipients live in the southern border states – California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas. Our communities are already hyper-militarized, with unaccountable border agents patrolling our communities and asking people for their papers at any time and for any reason. We need to pass a clean Dream Act so that we can continue to contribute to our economy without using our parents and loved ones as bargaining chips.” 

Marielena Hincapié, Executive Director, National Immigration Law Center, said, “We have been living for the last couple of weeks with a lot of anxiety for DACA recipients, particularly in light of President Trump’s decision to terminate the program. These young immigrants work as employers and educators, they are part of our families and communities. This was a nonsensical, irrational, heartless decision. We will continue to call on Republican and Democratic leaders to have the courage of young immigrant youth leaders in this country and pass the bipartisan Dream Act. Within hours of the decision, NILC and our partners filed a lawsuit on behalf of a courageous Dreamer Martín Batalla Vidal and Make the Road New York. Yesterday, at a hearing in the case in Brooklyn, U.S. District Judge Nicholas Garaufis appeared particularly concerned about the October 5 deadline for DACA recipients to renew their applications. For thousands of DACA recipients to be aware of that date and have the resources that they need to renew by then is a big feat that is not achievable for many. Judge Garaufis also seemed to understand the humanitarian impact of Trump’s decision, and how it affects our country as a whole. He repeatedly called on the federal government to extend an October 5 deadline. We will be back in court on September 26 and hope to make this a class action lawsuit.”

Greisa Martinez Rosas, DACA-recipient and Advocacy Director, United We Dream, said, “Amidst all the twists and turns – I’m here to remind the country that for immigrant youth, our drive to pass a clean Dream Act remains steady. When Donald Trump killed DACA and put our lives at risk, immigrant youth refused to sit back and take the abuse. Our leaders went to Congress and demanded they pass a clean Dream Act without dangerous add-ons to hurt our families – including those living in border communities. The momentum for a clean Dream Act is growing and immigrant youth are on Capitol Hill this week pushing for it. We call on both Republicans and Democrats to ditch the idea that one group of immigrants must endure more pain in order to provide another group with the freedom they deserve.”

Frank Sharry, Executive Director, America’s Voice Education Fund, said, “President Trump ended DACA and gave Congress a six month deadline to protect the 800,000 lives that he threw into chaos. Since then, we’ve seen some Republicans step up and state their support for the Dream Act. But, we are concerned that other Republicans are making vague and positive noises about protecting Dreamers while moving to kill legislation by seeking to add poison pills. Witness Speaker Paul Ryan’s decision to add Rep. Goodlatte to a House task force. Goodlatte – who in 2014 said that Dreamers should be required to leave the country – seems intent on adding measures such as mandatory E-Verify and cuts to legal immigration. He knows that if he succeeds, he can blow up the Dream Act and claim he tried. We don’t need ploys, we need action. A majority of Americans and majorities in both chambers support allowing the Dreamers to be formally and finally recognized as the Americans they already are. When the smoke clears, Republicans either enact legislation to this effect or they don’t. The clock is ticking and the moment of truth is drawing near. ”