ICE Intimidates Latino Community with Arrest of DACA Recipient Practicing Free Speech

Earlier this week in Jackson, Miss., 22-year-old Dany Vargas stood bravely before reporters to speak about the fear that she and many of her friends and family have of being deported at any moment under a new administration that has targeted the Latino community.

Dany’s fears are real. After all, it was just two weeks ago that she watched her father get arrested outside their home. She literally hid inside her bedroom closet for fear that she too could be deported. Dany’s father and her brother were arrested, detained, and are currently awaiting deportation. Despite her fears after watching her family members taken away, Dany spoke eloquently about being a DREAMer and how much she wants to contribute to her country, which she has called home since she was seven years old.

As a DACA recipient, Dany has been able to work as a store manager, and has dreams of being a math teacher. But, her DACA status lapsed after she was unable to pay the $500 fee that is required every two years to maintain the status. However, Dany did save up the money she needed, and last month got her paperwork in order so that she could begin the renewal process. Since her application is pending, what happened next was shocking.

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NCLR Joins Civil Rights Groups in Demanding White House Preserve DACA Program

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.

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Granting Extended Status to DACA Recipients is the Right Step Forward

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.

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What You Need to Renew DACA

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Follow these steps to properly fill out a DACA renewal

DACA WORKS!

Now entering its fourth year, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program has changed the lives of the 728,285 people who have received temporary protected status and work permits. And when it’s time to renew, it’s best to start the process early before your work permit expires.

Follow these steps from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to ensure that your DACA renewal process goes smoothly:
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Millions of American Families Still in Need of Immigration Relief

Southwest-Key_005Late last night, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans upheld an earlier ruling in Texas v. United States, temporarily blocking implementation of President Obama’s executive actions to provide deportation relief through an 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.

We are deeply disappointed by the decision, which ignores decades of legal precedent and leaves millions of American families in limbo.

“The record is clear—since the end of World War II, presidents of both parties have used discretionary powers on multiple occasions and for an extensively wide range of reasons to protect various groups from deportation,” said  NCLR President and CEO, Janet Murguía, in a statement. “This decision disregards both this precedent and the necessity and practicality of setting priorities when it comes to immigration enforcement,”

The Department of Justice expressed its disagreement with the appeals court and has indicated that it will ask the Supreme Court to review the Fifth Circuit’s decision.

US Supreme Court“Ultimately, we believe that a higher court will and should overturn this decision and history will show that President Obama’s actions prevented the separation of families, began to fix a badly broken immigration system, and enriched the economy” said Murguía.

In the statement, Murguía also noted the lengthy review period the Fifth Circuit took to hand down its decision.

“As many have noted, it is hard to avoid the conclusion that the decision is not just incorrect but was delayed unnecessarily,” said Murguía. “We cannot permit those opposed to this measure to simply ‘run out the clock’ because we are confident that, when brought before the Supreme Court, the justices will agree that the president was well within his legal authority to provide relief for millions of families.”

Although implementation of these specific programs remains halted, eligible applicants may still participate in DACA. For more information on how to apply for DACA, please visit uscis.gov/childhoodarrivals.