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Dreamers, Allies and Lawmakers Stand up for DACA on Five Year Anniversary

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Today is the five year anniversary of the popular and successful Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program going into effect. Of course, today’s anniversary comes with a cloud overhead, given the threats to the DACA program from some Republican state officials and the anti-immigrant movement. But in the face of this opposition, Dreamers and allies are standing up, celebrating the successes of the program and lifting up the stories of the nearly 800,000 DACA recipients who contribute so much to the country that is home:

Dreamers and allies holding pro-DACA and pro-Dreamer events and rallies across America. To celebrate today’s five year anniversary of DACA, Dreamers and their allies are holding dozens of events around the country today, as well as a national event at Lafayette Square near the White House led by United We Dream, CASA, NAKASEC, and immigrant families. Check out www.defenddaca.com to learn more and to find an event near you.

Senators and Members of Congress standing up for Dreamers: During a press call held yesterday, Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA) said, “We must keep America’s promise to these young people,” noting that, “In five years, thousands of DACA recipients have gone to college, filled jobs in high demand areas, opened small businesses, given back to their communities, and served in the military.” AndSenator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV) stated, “DREAMers are fighters. They never give up. These extraordinary young men and women deserve to have certainty and security that they will be able to live, work and serve our communities. Efforts to intimidate and deport these young people to score political points and embrace politics based on hate is wrong.” House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD)held a roundtable event alongside Dreamers that was broadcast on C-SPAN yesterday. And leading immigrant rights champion Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) is joining the event outside the White House led by Dreamers (see video explaining why here). These public expressions of support follow the introduction of a series of bills in the House and Senate to provide Dreamers a path to permanent residency.

Key English-language media outlets are capturing what’s at stake and the importance of DACA: Leading outlets such as CNNHuffPostPolitico, andNBC News are drawing important attention to the issue, highlighting DACA’s anniversary, successes, and uncertain future. Writing in USA Today’s opinion pages, Raul Reyes writes a piece titled, “Trump should defy lawsuit threats, save DACA and the Dreamers,” noting, “The DACA program has been a success, and Trump himself has spoken favorably of the ‘Dreamers’ it benefits. The right, smart thing for Trump to do is to continue DACA – and not abdicate the decision to his hardliner immigration advisors, or to the state attorneys general who want to kill the program.” On the newest edition of the leading podcast “Pod Save America,” DACA recipient Julissa Arce joins the hosts to highlight the threats to DACA and the program’s success and importance.

Spanish-language media is covering this with intensity: To cite just two of many examples: 1) Writing in La Opinion, Pilar Marrero wrote that United We Dream had received numerous hate messages over the weekend, coinciding with the march of neo-Nazis in Charlottesville. Greisa Martinez of UWD told her, “We know these people are emboldened because there are their supporters in the government, the White House and the Department of Homeland Security. That’s why I call on all people of conscience to join tomorrow to march or protest to defend DACA and TPS.” And 2) On Univision.com, Jorge Cancino’s piece quoted a DACA beneficiary named Tomas, who said, “Look, when President Obama announced it, I was in college about to graduate chemistry. And I did not know what was going to happen in my life, because my options were limited. Now I am a teacher, I pay taxes, I have a work permit, a driver’s license. We are not hurting anyone, we are part of this country.”

Former DHS Secretaries Jeh Johnson and Janet Napolitano with strong, pro-DACA op-eds: In a recent Washington Post op-ed, Secretary Napolitano wrote, “For the past five years, these young dreamers have proven that, when given the opportunity to contribute, they exceed expectations. It is time to unlock the full potential of these exceptional young people by making these protections permanent.” And in a recent op-ed in the Wall Street Journal, Secretary Johnson wrote, “Deciding the future of DACA presents a chance for the president to show a ‘great heart.’ Public office and the manner in which we enforce the law permits us to do that once in a while. DACA recipients came here as kids, and they’ve been here for years. As Mr. Trump himself has observed, they are almost all outstanding young men and women who grew up and went to school here, work hard, follow the law, and hope to share in the American dream. They are American in fact though not in law.”

According to Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice Education Fund:

With the country reeling from the neo-Nazi terrorist attack in Charlottesville this past weekend and the failure of President Trump to quickly denounce it, America needs leadership that lifts up the values we hold dear and points to a brighter future for our nation. The President can do both by saying that the young people who grew up in America, pay taxes, work hard, go to college and contribute to the country they call home should be able to stay here without fear of deportation until Congress enacts a permanent solution. If he fails to do so, and fails to stand up for who we are, then it is incumbent on elected leaders, especially Republicans, to do the right thing, fill the vacuum created by Trump’s moral failure, and ensure that these American kids are formally recognized as such. Anything less will be another victory for the far-right and another setback for what makes America special.