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In Defense of DACA

  July 19, 2021

On July 16th, a federal District Court judge in Texas halted new applicants to DACA or the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. The ruling does not affect the more than 600,000 young people currently protected by DACA. In the written ruling, the judge said DACA is unlawful because the federal government violated the Administrative Procedure Act in 2012 by not following an appropriate “notice and comment” process.

One fact is clear, this ruling leaves 81,000 current applicants for DACA relief in limbo and further underscores the need for Congress to adopt legislation to protect DACA-eligible young people living in the United States. Currently, DACA recipients do not have a pathway to citizenship and live in constant fear of being torn from their families, communities, schools, jobs, and the only country they have ever known.

The International Institute of New England urges Congress to adopt common-sense legislation to protect the nation’s DACA recipients or DREAMers. IINE has served and employed DREAMers for many years. They are our friends and neighbors. They have worked in many frontline positions during the pandemic. Some have served in the U.S. military, many are students, and a growing number are parents of U.S. citizens.  DREAMers are Americans in every way, except on paper.

According to a Pew Research survey conducted in June of 2020, 74% of Americans support legislation protecting DREAMers. And, various studies show that deporting DREAMers would harm the economy, destroy families, reduce tax revenues, and cost the government billions of dollars.

The American Promise and Dream Act, which would provide conditional permanent resident status for several categories of immigrants, including DREAMers, has passed the U.S. of Representatives twice, and is awaiting Senate approval. In addition, a bipartisan bill in the Senate introduced by Senators Richard Durbin (D-IL) and Lindsay Graham (R-SC), known as the Dream Act of 2021 establishes a path to citizenship for some DACA recipients and other undocumented immigrants.

We urge Congress to listen to the American people and to do the right thing by passing legislation to protect young people who came here through no choice of their own and who are contributing to communities in every state across the country.


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