August 15th marked the fifth anniversary of the implementation of DACA; a program that allows more than 12,000 Nevadans, brought to the U.S. as children, to live and work here.
President Obama created DACA via executive order in 2012 and President Trump reauthorized it in June, but he also directed federal ICE agents to crack down on the undocumented.
Nevada’s Democratic Senator Catherine Cortez Masto calls the raids cruel and complains that they also have ensnared some so-called “dreamers.”
“Dreamers are part of our community,” she says. “They not only contribute to our economy. They enrich our everyday lives. They are loved ones, friends, neighbors. They are going to our schools. They’re at our grocery stores. They’re in our churches. We have seen many cases throughout the country of DACA recipients either being jailed, intimidated and deported by the Trump administration, and it is not right.”
“Dreamers are part of our community. They not only contribute to our economy. They enrich our everyday lives. We have seen many cases throughout the country of DACA recipients either being jailed, intimidated and deported by the Trump administration, and it is not right.”
Nevada Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto
DACA’s future is uncertain because nine state attorneys general are suing to stop it and the Justice Department under hard-liner Attorney General Jeff Sessions has not committed to defending the program.
Cortez Masto is a co-sponsor of the DREAM Act, which would codify the program into law.
Frank Sharry, executive director of America’s Voice Education Fund, says he hopes Sen. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell will bring the DREAM Act up for a vote and then start work on bipartisan immigration reform.
“We’d love to see DACA stay in place until Congress acts on a permanent solution,” he says. “There’s no reason to upend 800-thousand people who are making such a terrific contribution to our country.”
Masto estimates that the Nevada economy would lose $585 million a year if DACA recipients were to be deported.
By Suzanne Potter
Public News Service – NV