Immigrant youth beneficiaries of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) gathered at the State Capitol just before the Fourth of July weekend to oppose efforts to terminate the program.
DACA allows them to work legally in the United States and gives them a reprieve from deportation and the opportunity for a better life for themselves and their families, including access to higher education.
The Arizona DREAM Act Coalition, the first immigrant youth-led organization in the state, along with activists from diverse organizations, strongly condemned Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s letter urging the Trump administration to terminate DACA. They equally denounced all the officials in other states who co-signed the letter.
Paxton’s horrific letter comes in the wake of the Trump administration’s decision to rescind the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) program and the extension of DACA.
The DAPA program and the extension of DACA were never implemented after lawsuits were presented and the Supreme Court tied in a vote to decide their fate.
The letter, signed June 29, 2017 by immigration restrictionists, is a cruel and inhumane proposition to nix the dreams and opportunities of immigrant youth, who are actively contributing to our communities all over the country and specifically the state of Arizona.
The ADAC also advised Governor Ducey and Arizona’s Attorney General Mark Brnovich not to add their names and the state to the ill-conceived document and to immediately drop the two lawsuits the state is waging against DREAMers. One of these lawsuits is related to in-state tuition at community colleges; the other concerns access to driver’s licenses.
ADAC president Karina Ruiz, who is a biochemistry graduate from Arizona State University, said that the lawsuit is a direct attack on immigrant youth who have grown up in the U.S. and contribute their work, talents, and taxes to their communities.
Research shows that the DACA program has been a success during its five years of implementation. Click here to read a report.
“There is no explanation for this ill-conceived letter but xenophobia and racism,” Ruiz said. “We DACA-DREAMers are model citizens, and our stories of determination inspire people in this country and around the world… The letter writers and signers ignore the statistics of our contributions and the fact that we DACA-DREAMers create businesses at twice the rate of the regular population.”
The letter to President Trump requesting the termination of the DACA program was signed by the attorneys general of Alabama, Arkansas, Idaho, Kansas, Louisiana, Nebraska, South Carolina, Tennessee, and West Virginia, as well as the governor of Idaho.
“We are taking note,” Ruiz says, “that Paxton’s letter includes just 10 states of the 26 who originally opposed the DAPA and DACA expansion, which means that some states refuse to participate in this hateful document.”
As of today, July 5, Arizona’s representatives have not signed the letter.
“DREAMers and allies will be applauding those who refuse to add their states to this document of hate and fight all those who want to kill our dreams,” says Ruiz.