tags: Press Releases

The Stakes of the GOP Effort to End DACA

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Washington, DC – The Republican Party is actively trying to end the popular and successful Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, potentially making hundreds of thousands of Dreamers who have registered with the government repeatedly and lived in the U.S. a minimum of 15 years once again deportable and unemployable. 

In courts, the GOP is trying to end DACA, with the conservative Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals set to rule on the DACA program any day in a challenge brought by the State of Texas and several other Republican-controlled states. The court is widely assumed to be on the verge of ruling that the DACA program is “illegal” in some form or fashion. In Congress, the GOP continues to block legislation to make Dreamers full citizens, as they have done for more than a decade, having blocked Dreamer legislation that passed the Senate in 2006, the House in 2010 and 2020 and the Senate in 2013. And on the campaign trail, Republicans are portraying immigrants and asylum seekers as dangerous “invaders” seeking to “replace” white Americans as part of their increasing embrace of nativist politics and nationalist rhetoric instead of policy solutions.

An array of voices are highlighting what is at stake in the aftermath of a potential ruling – a ruling that could not only roil hundreds of thousands of affected families, but U.S. politics and our economy. Remember, the forthcoming Fifth Circuit ruling could mean the end of work permits for tens of thousands of Dreamers at a time when there are more than 340,000 “essential” workers with DACA across the country, including 15,000 K-12 teachers during a time of severe teacher shortages.

  • NBC News: “Biden White House preparing to take executive action to protect DACA ‘Dreamers’“: Josh Lederman and Julia Ainsley write: “With few options to act on its own, the Biden administration is readying steps that could continue to shield from deportation — at least temporarily — immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children but lack legal status and were granted protections under the DACA program. The order would direct Immigration and Customs Enforcement to deprioritize deporting DACA recipients and refrain from deporting them if they aren’t deemed threats to public safety or national security … Without action from Congress, the program’s work authorizations are all but certain to end. Immigration experts say thousands could abruptly lose their ability to earn a living in the U.S.”
  • Los Angeles Times op-ed by Yadira Bribiesca, a student with DACA at the UCLA School of Medicine, writes “Protect the Dreamers. The U.S. needs doctors-in-training like me,” noting: “If I am allowed to become a physician and practice here in the U.S., I will continue fighting against health inequities and engage in research and mentorship to empower immigrant communities. My career would also provide the financial stability needed to build my life in the U.S. — the only place I’ve ever known — allowing me, one day, to purchase my first home and start a family. However, with the DACA program in jeopardy, my aspirations of giving back to my community through healthcare and establishing a future in the U.S. hang in the balance. Congress has failed for decades now to provide a permanent legislative solution for Dreamers, using the existence of DACA as an excuse for inaction. However, time is nearly up; lawmakers must immediately pass permanent protections for Dreamers and affirm that they are part of the fabric of our country.”
  • Arizona Public Media/Fronteras story by Alisa Reznick, “An appeals court could end DACA. Many students never had the protection it provided anyway,” features an interview with Angel Palazuelos, an Arizona State University student and state resident since late in 2007. Like many younger Dreamers, Angel is ineligible for DACA due to narrowly missing the cutoff date for arrival in the U.S. He notes of why he continues to engage in legislative advocacy for a permanent solution: “That’s what drives me, that is why I find myself here on this beautiful campus,” he said. “That is why I go every Wednesday and have this interest in politics, because things need to change. If I’m going to honor my mother’s sacrifices, if I’m going to do right by her sacrifices, I’m going to need things to change.”

According to Yuna Oh, a DACA recipient and Political Associate at America’s Voice: 

The possibility that DACA could be overruled by the 5th Circuit court is very real. For years, Republicans have tried to end protections for DACA recipients and they are now using the courts to achieve that goal. They refuse to accept that DACA recipients, like me, are Americans, which not only undermines hundreds of thousands of hard working DACA recipients, but also shows again how out-of-date and chaotic our immigration system is today. 

The continued battle to end DACA might be a political ploy for politicians, but for so many Dreamers, they are toying with our lives, our families, our communities, and our economy. Instead of attacking so many of us who are able to follow our American Dream because of DACA, Republicans and Democrats need to provide permanent solutions such as passing legislation that will give a pathway to citizenship. It’s been too long already.

According to Vanessa Cárdenas, Deputy Director of America’s Voice:

DACA was a  life changing event for hundreds of thousands of young people who finally were able to have the opportunity to live and work without the fear of deportation. Ending this popular program – which has the support of more than 70% of Americans –  has the potential of mobilizing immigrant communities and those who support them in an election year where every vote matters. Instead of ending DACA, Republicans should focus on working with Democrats to provide long term relief for Dreamers.