In response to a new memo released yesterday by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) on the continuation of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program and the rescission of the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) program, NCLR President and CEO Janet Murguía issued the following statement:
“While we applaud the administration’s apparent decision to keep DACA in place, today’s action is far from reassuring. The announcement that DACA would not be repealed was coupled with a decision to formally revoke DAPA, which would have given temporary protected status to an estimated five million parents of U.S. citizens. Further, the Trump administration took pains to note that they have not yet decided on DACA’s long-term future, as if the benefits to our economy, our society and the more than 750,000 young people beginning their adult lives in the only country they have ever known can be debated or denied. Claiming that DACA recipients are safe, while ending protections for parents and issuing executive orders to increase an already draconian enforcement policy does not actually ensure their safety or anyone else’s. This is why NCLR will continue to protect and defend the Latino and immigrant communities in the United States, and continue advocating for commonsense, comprehensive immigration reform.”
On June 7, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)—the federal agency in charge of processing all immigration-related services—released data on applications filed under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy. The data confirm that, in the first three months of the Trump administration, USCIS has continued to receive and process DACA requests at similar levels to those during the previous year.
Between January and March 2017, USCIS approved 107,524 DACA renewals and 17,275 new applications. The numbers are comparable to the previous three-month period (October to December 2016).
Photo: Office of Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa
On January 18, in anticipation of expected executive orders on immigration from the Trump administration, NCLR signed onto a letter from the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights urging the new president to keep the DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) program for immigrant youth intact.
The DACA program was established in 2012 under former President Obama to grant temporary deportation relief to undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States before their sixteenth birthday. More than 750,000 individuals—known as “DREAMers”—have enjoyed the benefits of the DACA program. For many DREAMers who have grown up in the United States, this has been the only country that they have ever known.
We applaud the bipartisan bill legislation Senator Lindsey Graham (R-N.C.) and Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) introduced late last week that would provide provisional protected status for DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) recipients.
The 2012 program allows unauthorized immigrants who were brought to the United States as children—also known as “DREAMers”—who have completed or are enrolled in high school, and who have not committed serious offenses, to obtain temporary protection from deportation, as well as a work permit, renewable every two years. Since DACA’s implementation, almost 740,000 DREAMers have received temporary deportation relief.
By Janet Murguía, President and CEO, NCLR
(Originally posted 11/20/2015 on The Hill’s Congress Blog.)
It is hard to describe the joy millions of American families experienced a year ago today when President Obama announced two programs that would provide relief from deportation for many immigrants in our country who are rooted in community and family. It was visceral, the kind of joy that grips your soul until tears well up. It is not often a public policy pronouncement has that kind of immediate, deeply emotional effect. But that is what the expansion of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program and the creation of the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) program did.
After a decade of ad nauseam debate on immigration in which the latest chapter was House leadership’s aggressive refusal to vote on Senate bipartisan legislation, communities were in desperate need of relief. While some politicians talk about immigrants as if they are separate from the rest of America, the reality is that they are our coworkers, our friends, and our families. That day, millions of U.S.-citizen children, of spouses, family, and friends alike, felt that the constant anxiety of having a loved one forever plucked from their lives without notice might finally go away.
One has to imagine the depth of that relief to begin to understand the equally visceral reaction to seeing it blocked. Instead of a year in which millions of undocumented immigrants could have done what our country wants—come forward, pay a fee, get vetted, work legally—we remain mired in a fight in which opposing the president takes precedence over economic, political, and moral benefits.
(Read the entire post at The Hill)