Trump Throws Hundreds of Thousands of Young Latinos Into Danger of Deportation

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 5, 2017

CONTACT: John Garcia, Director of Communications, 212-739-7513, 917-673-9095 or jgarcia@latinojustice.org.

The Trump administration announced it would end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program in six months, putting hundreds of thousands of young Latinos in danger of being deported. The administration announced that no current beneficiaries will be affected before March 5 of next year. But no new initial requests or associated applications filed after today will be acted on.

More than 800,000 young people would be impacted if DACA ends. DACA is a five-year-old policy that is supposed to shield immigrants from deportation and allow them to attend school and work if they were brought to the US as children. A policy change would potentially put their legal status in danger and subjecting them to deportation. Officials say that some of the current recipients already getting protection through DACA will be able to renew their two-year period of legal status through October 5.

Several Attorney Generals, including those from New York and Washington, have already announced that they would sue if the program is ended.

“The president is taking out his failures and frustrations on innocent young immigrants. He is talking to his base, which has shown a real disdain for American ideals to welcome and accept immigrants from all nations,” said Juan Cartagena, President & General Counsel of LatinoJustice. “To hear Jeff Sessions pretend that ending DACA is about fighting terrorism and making the country safe and secure is patently absurd for a population of DREAMers who have been fully vetted by the federal government and have assimilated into the country’s fabric.”

The Trump administration was under pressure to act as 11 state attorneys general wrote to Sessions in June threatening to mount a legal challenge to the DACA program unless the administration phased out the program by today. Most immigration experts agree that ending the program would yield no benefit to the nation while endangering large numbers of young people raised in the United States who are seeking to work and pay taxes.

“DACA has been an endless source of opportunity for me,” said Angel Reyes, a DACA recipient and LatinoJustice Long Island Community Organizer. “I’ve seized opportunities I wouldn't have been able to seize as an undocumented immigrant. Being undocumented is a wall that stops you from achieving your full potential. DACA removed that wall and allowed us to dream. It'll be disheartening and devastating for hundreds of thousands of people if our government ignores all the data that proves DACA to be a good for the country; economically, socially and morally.”

Last week, more than 400 business leaders, including the heads of tech giants Apple and Facebook, wrote to the president asking him not to rescind DACA. Best Buy, General Motors, Wells Fargo and investor Warren Buffet also signed the letter. According to the letter, more than 65% of Dreamers who registered for the program have brought cars since signing up and almost 15% have brought houses. According to one study, almost 95% attend school.

An April 2017 survey of registered voters found that 78% of American voters support giving immigrant youth that arrived to the U.S. at a young age, the chance to stay permanently in America, including 73% of Trump voters.

DACA was instituted under an Executive Action by former President Barak Obama. DACA is not codified under the law and can be rescinded without needing the permission of congress. There is no legalization process, only a deferral from deportation.

At the time of signing DACA, Obama urged Congress to pass a more comprehensive overhaul of immigration laws that could provide a way for immigrants to become citizens eventually, but political roadblocks in Congress have prevented such an action. Every president since Dwight Eisenhower, including Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, and George W. Bush have taken similar action to protect immigrants.

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