tags: Press Releases

The Success and Contributions of DACA Recipients Destroys GOP Lies and Fear-mongering Around Immigrants

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Washington, DC – Today is the 10-year anniversary of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program and media outlets are highlighting the powerful stories of DACA recipients, while an array of statistics underscore why DACA has been one of the most successful immigration programs in U.S. history.

Beyond celebrating the successes of DACA, today is also a day of frustrated reflection for many, including younger Dreamers, who lack DACA and current recipients whose futures remain in limbo given persistent Republican legal challenges to the program and Republican obstruction of an overwhelmingly popular legislative fix.

At a time when Republican nativism is ascendent, Los Angeles Times columnist Jean Guerrero makes the important point that DACA and its recipients undercut the GOP’s ugly portrayal of immigrants. She also calls on Democrats to do all they can via executive action and standalone votes, both because it’s the right thing to do and also to draw sharp contrasts with Republicans:

“[T]he GOP has thwarted protections for Dreamers for more than two decades. …The last time they [Democrats] painted such a sharp contrast between themselves and Republicans on immigration was after Obama initiated DACA on June 15, 2012. Latinos rewarded him with shockingly high turnout in the 2012 elections, inspiring a GOP reckoning and autopsy report calling for a pro-immigrant reinvention of the party.

The Dreamers, it turned out, were GOP kryptonite. As history showed in California, Trump-style white rage lacks long-term potential. The Dreamers are key to disrupting its power. Just one more reason we must protect them.”

The following is a statement from Mario Carrillo, Campaigns Director of America’s Voice, who is married to a DACA recipient:

“It’s time to build on DACA’s successes and deliver a more permanent legislative solution for the undocumented community, just like the vast majority of Americans support. But that’s been the case for decades. Majorities in the country as well as in the House and Senate have long supported legal status for young immigrants and others with deep roots in the U.S. Indeed, versions of the Dream Act and similar legislation passed the Senate in 2006, the House in 2010 and 2020 and the Senate in 2013, only to be thwarted by Republicans each time. DACA recipients like my wife Angie and tens of thousands of other families remain in limbo, living their lives in two year increments, worried about what GOP legal challenges to DACA might mean for our future.

The Republican Party is still actively trying to end the DACA program to ensure that hundreds of thousands of people who have registered with the government repeatedly and lived in the U.S. a minimum of 15 years are once again made deportable and unemployable. As the GOP embraces racist conspiracy theories and advances their efforts to make sure that the majority of Americans are thwarted in their broad agreement on guns, abortion, the environment, LGBTQ and voting rights, it is hard to imagine the Republican Party coming to support legal status for immigrants. But the fact remains that overwhelming majorities of Americans support legal status for millions of immigrants, like my wife and countless others who are helping to build America each and every day.

The face of a typical DACA recipient isn’t that of a young high school student anymore. Now, they’re valued employees and parents in their 30s. Meanwhile, the younger cohort of so-called Dreamers are ineligible to apply into the program due to the GOP legal challenges.

Enough is enough. If nothing else, the last decade of DACA destroys the lies and scary portrayals of immigrants that Republicans still use to justify their opposition and obstruction to a legislative solution. The GOP’s embrace of anti-immigrant politics is relentless and nearly unanimous across the party, yet, DACA and the stories of its recipients are, as Jean Guerrero put it, ‘GOP kryptonite.’

Through a combination of continued executive actions to protect DACA recipients and other immigrants and through a legislative breakthrough two decades in the making, the right way to commemorate the 10-year anniversary of DACA is to finally deliver the stability and full participation in American life that our country needs and program participants deserve.”

Read Mario Carrillo’s personal reflections yesterday here on what the DACA anniversary means to his family.