DREAMers Need Immediate Relief
On Sept. 5, Trump announced that he was terminating the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. The Obama-era program provides relief from deportation for an estimated 800,000 young immigrants. These immigrants have gone to our schools, they live and work in our communities, they have families, and now they’re at an even greater risk of deportation. Congress must act immediately to protect DREAMers.
WHAT IS THE DACA PROGRAM?
DACA provides relief from deportation to certain young immigrants. In 2012, President Obama created the DACA program to grant relief from deportation to individuals who came to the U.S. as children, if they met a number of requirements (like extensive background checks). The Obama Administration recognized that there were millions of undocumented young immigrants who grew up in the U.S., who were essentially American in every sense, except on paper. The program has allowed approximately 800,000 young people the opportunity to live and work lawfully in the U.S. It does not provide a path to citizenship. Check out this short video explaining the program.
DACA is constitutional. Opponents of DACA, including Trump, are falsely claiming that DACA is unconstitutional. But nationally renowned constitutional scholars have weighed in, like in this letter to Trump, arguing that not only is DACA constitutional, but that previous presidents from both parties have used the same process to grant relief from deportation to other immigrants.
DACA works, and it has improved the lives of its recipients and their families. Among DACA recipients:
- 95% are currently working or in school
- 48% got a job with better working conditions
- 63% got a better paying job
- 90% got a driver’s license or state ID
- 54% bought their first car
- 12% bought their first home
WHAT THE END OF THE DACA PROGRAM MEANS
Donald Trump has betrayed our values and unraveled our promise to these young immigrants who grew up calling the United States home. When the program was created back in 2012, the U.S. government asked eligible immigrants to come forward, to volunteer their personal information, undergo a background check, and pay a large fine, in exchange for protection from deportation. Indeed, DACA is a promise of safety by the U.S. government to the 800,000 individuals who have been granted DACA—and now that promise has been broken.
Trump’s elimination of DACA is part of his white supremacist agenda. Trump’s decision is consistent with his broader, white supremacist agenda. He notably pardoned former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio on August 25, a man who made his career by violating the constitutional rights of those he was sworn to protect because of the color of their skin. Make no mistake: Trump is systematically attacking people of color, immigrants, the LGBTQ community, and anyone else he can “other.”
Congress needs to pass the DREAM Act—now
There is bipartisan support for the DREAM Act in both the Senate and House. And the bill enjoys massive support from the American public. Now that Donald Trump has yanked protection away from immigrant youth, it is now up to Congress to take action.
The biggest leverage we have is on the December spending bill. You should continue to demand that Congress pass the DREAM Act. Now. Every day that goes by is a day in which the lives of immigrant youth remain at risk. Unfortunately, we don’t set the agenda in Congress, making it difficult to push for policies like the DREAM Act. However, we have leverage coming up in December that Democrats can use to pass the DREAM Act, but it’ll work only if they are willing to play hardball.
Tell Your MoC to Take the DREAMer Pledge
Ask for Democrats: Take the “DREAMer Pledge.” What is the DREAMer Pledge? It’s simple. If Congress hasn’t passed the DREAM Act by Dec. 8th—when funding for the government expires—then they will insist on it being a part of the December spending bill. The pledge is that they will commit to voting against the Dec. “continuing resolution” unless it contains a clean DREAM Act.
Ask for Republicans: Sign-on to the DREAM Act. Every Member of Congress should be on the DREAM Act, and in fact there are a couple of Republicans who have joined their Democratic colleagues in co-sponsoring. Is your Republican Senator(s) or Representative signed-on? You can check here for your senators and here for your Representative.
SAMPLE CALL DIALOGUE:
Caller: Hello! My name is [name] and I’m calling from [place in state]. Could you please tell me what the [Senator/Representative]’s position is on Trump’s announcement that he is ending the DACA program to provide relief from deportation for 800,000 DREAMers who came to the United States as children?
Option 1 [Democrat]
Staffer: Yes! [Senator/Representative] is totally opposed to Trump’s decision to end DACA.
Caller: I’m glad to hear that. Can you tell me what [Senator/Representative] has done so far to speak out about this?
Staffer: Sure. [Senator/Representative] gave a speech on the floor recently that talked about the importance of DACA for immigrants and for our state’s economy. And yesterday she did an epic tweet storm.
Caller: That’s great, but it’s going to take more than talk and tweet storms to keep 800,000 DACA recipients from falling into Trump’s deportation machine. Will the [Senator/Representative] take the “DREAMer Pledge”? The DREAMer Pledge is a commitment to do everything he/she can to pass the DREAM Act as soon as possible, but if it hasn’t passed by December that they will insist that it be included in the December government spending bill.
Option 2 [Republican]
Staffer: [Senator/Representative] agrees with Donald Trump’s decision to end DACA.
Caller: That is terrible. How can [Senator/Representative] justify ripping 800,000 DREAMers from their homes? Some of them arrived in the United States when they were so young, they have no other country to call home. Did you know that there are [X] DACA recipients in [State] alone, and each year they contribute [Y] in State and local taxes?
Staffer: I didn’t know that. I will pass along your concerns to the [Senator/Representative].
Caller: Please do, and tell him that as his constituent here in [part of State], I expect [Senator/Representative] to get on the right side of history with this issue and cosponsor the bipartisan DREAM Act. It is inhumane to tear away young people who are American in every way except on paper—and our economy would take a huge hit if they are forced to leave their jobs.