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Office Hours: Rep. Gutiérrez Joins Litigator in DACA Termination Lawsuit and Dreamers to Address Latest DACA Updates

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A recording of today’s call is available here.

On the heels of another busy week of immigration policy developments, Representative Gutiérrez (D-IL) joined Mayra Joachin, a NILC litigator in the lawsuit challenging the termination of DACA, Dreamers Juan Belman and Gabriel Belmonte, and Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice Education Fund to provide litigation and on-the-ground analysis. A recording of today’s call is available here.

Representative Luis V. Gutiérrez (D-IL) said:

We cannot back down, let up, or call a timeout and wait three months while the lives of 800,000 DACA recipients hang in the balance. The bottom line is that the Speaker of the House has to be courageous enough to call a vote on a clean bill to protect DREAMers and if he isn’t courageous enough, supporters of the DREAM Act have to make him do it anyway.

Mayra Joachin, Litigator, National Immigration Law Center, said:

The administration’s failure to provide an adequate justification for ending DACA violates the Administrative Procedure Act, which dictates that when the government reverses a long-established policy, it must prove good reason for doing so. This is especially true when there has been reliance on a longstanding and well-established policy, as with DACA. The decision to terminate DACA also violates the constitution’s equal protection clause which prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, ethnicity, or national origin. Ending DACA would have a disproportionate impact on Latinos and Mexicans, who have been the target of President Trump’s ire since his first day as a candidate for President. But we’re not just fighting in the courtroom. We are mobilized with our communities and allies, we are getting our state and local leaders to support and commit to protect immigrant youth, and we are pushing Congress to act swiftly to pass the Dream Act 2017.

Juan Belman, Dreamer, said:

President Trump’s decision to end DACA one week after this devastating storm was cowardly and ruthless. Our immigrant community now must rebuild our lives after Harvey, while juggling the usual stress of work and school assignments, and either confront a strict, and arbitrary, DACA-renewal deadline of October 5 or the reality of a life without DACA. Make no mistake, this unnecessary deadline means many DACA-recipients in Texas and across the country will likely fall out of status and could lose homes, jobs, or a chance to continue their studies. Right now, we are concentrated on empowering our community to continue to lead this fight and urging our elected officials in Texas to support a clean, standalone Dream Act.

Gabriel Belmonte, Dreamer, said:

I am a DACA beneficiary, and I have been in this country since 1989. I am 35 and work as a quality engineer at a tech firm in Silicon Valley. Trump’s DACA announcement was a shock, but it was unfortunately an expected punch because of his Administration’s hostile rhetoric. However, it still hurt. Trump’s reckless decision must galvanize us. DACA recipients nationwide must change the narrative that our parents were wrong for bringing us here. Our parents did what they needed to do. I worked hard to advance my career for my family, and, thankfully, they are green card holders. But what if they weren’t? What good would my support be if they were at risk for deportation? We need to pass the Dream Act, but we also need to focus on passing comprehensive immigration reform to benefit all immigrants. This is the first of many battles.

Frank Sharry, Executive Director, America’s Voice Education Fund, said:

This was a huge news week, and Dreamers are leading the way. Senate Minority Leader Schumer (D- NY) and House Minority Leader Pelosi (D-CA) have been clear: they will not agree to any legislative deals that protect the Dreamers by throwing Dreamers’ parents under the bus. It’s not a deal, it’s a non-starter. This is an urgent situation, and we are heartened by the response from the community and the nation. Professors, elected officials, and faith leaders are being arrested and the business community and the polls are all on our side – all in support of DACA and Dreamers. Trump has voiced his support for the Dream Act and, while we can’t trust his word, our chances look better each day. We must keep mobilizing supporters on this issue and pass a standalone Dream Act. This past week, we witnessed the strong voices and courage of Dreamers as their lives were threatened, and I believe that if we follow their lead we can cross the finish line and get a Dream Act passed.