The National Hispanic Caucus of State Legislators (NHCSL), which represents the interests of over 400 state legislators from both parties in state legislatures across the country, expressed outrage over the Administration’s determination to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program that has helped over 800,000 “Dreamers” to remain in this country and contribute to its success.
“The members of NHCSL are outraged that this Administration decided to terminate a program that allowed people who were brought to this country as children to go to school, have a job, and boost our economy to be able to stay without fear of deportation. The fear and anxiety that this decision will cause to immigrant communities – many of whom have US citizen relatives – is contrary to the values this country was founded upon. Congress should not wait until the end of the six-month phase out period to act. Every day that passes is one more day of chaos, of workplace uncertainty for employees and employers. Therefore, Congress should fast-track the Dream Act now. Anything less is a betrayal of the trust that DACAmented residents put on America’s government,” NHCSL President, Representative Ángel Cruz (PA), said.
NHCSL Secretary, Representative Ángela Romero (UT), said: “After the election, President Trump said that ‘Dreamers’ ‘should not be very worried’ and that he would deal with DACA with a ‘big heart.’ Today the president decided to take the opposite approach. Sending back to the shadows close to 1 million people that trusted the government, played by the rules, pay their taxes and contribute to our society shows nothing but cruelty and misplaced priorities. ‘Dreamers’ know no other country and were brought here through no fault of their own and are American in everything but a piece of paper. The chaos this action will sow in our community once again highlights the need for comprehensive immigration reform that will solve this problem once and for all.”
According to the Migration Policy Institute, 1.93 million individuals were DACA eligible in 2016. Furthermore, 72.7% of DACA recipients reported having an American citizen spouse, child or sibling (“2017 National DACA Study” conducted by University of California, San Diego associate professor Tom K. Wong).
“DACA beneficiaries serve in our military, attend our universities and are an integral part of our communities. These individuals know no other country than the one they love and have been living in through almost their entire lives. To end this program and subject productive and law-abiding members of our families to deportation is not just cruel but non-sensical. Ripping families apart, taking some our best and brightest from our workforce, and sending them to countries they have never known is not greatness, despite what any campaign slogan may imply. It is high time for Congress to right this wrong and ensure a pathway to citizenship for hardworking undocumented immigrants that help make our country great,” Senator Richard Martínez (NM), Chair of NHCSL’s Immigration, Human & Civil Rights Task Force, said.
Representative César Chávez (AZ) said that “at the age of three, my parents made the sacrifice to bring me to this nation in search of a greater future. Had it not been for the opportunities afforded to us, I would not be where I am standing today. 800,000 individuals share the same story. However, their future is being held at the mercy of a political agenda. Now more than ever, we urge Congress for a permanent fix to this situation.”
“DHS and Justice have shown so little foresight or awareness of the consequences of their rushed end to DACA that when asked by NHCSL on an official conference call what would happen to the unemployment insurance benefits contributed by the hundreds of thousands of employees they were about to put on the street, what was heard was a deafening silence and a meek referral to the Department of Labor on a question that is clearly legal in nature,” NHCSL Executive Director Kenneth Romero-Cruz said.