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Legal Experts and Immigration Advocates Respond to Latest DACA Attack

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A recording of today’s event is available here.

In response to yesterday’s letter from Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, Idaho Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter, and nine other state Attorney Generals calling for the termination of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, legal experts and immigrant advocates outlined the next steps in the fight to preserve DACA and protect undocumented youth.

Greisa Martinez Rosas, Advocacy Director and DACA-recipient, United We Dream, said:

I am undocumented, unashamed, unafraid, and I am here to stay. Both my little sister and I are protected from deportation because of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. Because of DACA, 800,000 young people have been protected, 48% got a job with better working conditions, 63% got a better paying job, 90% have gotten a driver’s license or state ID and 12% – like me – have been able to buy a home for their family. But yesterday, in a mean-spirited cheap attack, ten Republican politicians lashed out at us and demanded that we be put onto the deportation pipeline. For members of my community, I want to be clear: the DACA program still stands and we will fight to protect it. We will hold this Administration accountable, we will organize, and we will win.

Angelica Villalobos, DACA-recipient, said:

I am the proud mother of four, I am undocumented, I am one of the 800,000 people, who are protected from deportation because of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program. During a town hall earlier this year, I asked Speaker Paul Ryan whether he believes that I should be deported, and he looked me in the eye and said that I would be safe. Now that we are under attack by these ten far-right state politicians, I want to know what Speaker Ryan will do to keep us safe. It is time for elected officials who have any sense of decency, morality and vision for a diverse and bright future for this country to step up and say no to this attack. Enough is enough.

Kamal Essaheb, Director of Policy & Advocacy, National Immigration Law Center – Immigrant Justice Fund, said:

As an immigrant, as a lawyer, and as a former DACA-recipient, yesterday’s news on DACA and other immigration issues was enough to make my head spin. Unfortunately, the Republican party, with Trump at the helm, has made an ugly habit of bashing immigrants to mask their failure to pass a legislative agenda. Given this environment, it is unsurprising that Texas Attorney General Paxton, along with nine other states, has pulled the ultimate legal bully move. Now, we’ll see whether the Trump administration caves into their tactics, or if the Trump legal team does what the American people need and serves as the people’s lawyer. The DACA program has allowed our economies to grow, our communities to thrive, and we, as individuals, to reach our full potential. The Trump administration should immediately shut down this legal folly, and Republicans who claim to stand with immigrants must do the same. Immigrant voters are watching, and we will remember both cowardice and courage come 2018. We are not your scapegoat. The American people know the difference between talk and action, and the GOP is at grave risk for being known for one and not the other.