Frontera Fund News

DACA Program in Peril: Organize Like a DREAMer

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Written by Carmen Cornejo

The extremist members of the GOP have launched several fronts of attack against the DACA program, and the alarming news is ricocheting across young immigrants’ organizations and networks.

DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) provides undocumented youth who meet certain prerequisites a reprieve from deportation, a social security number, and the opportunity to work in the U.S. for a renewable period of two years. In most states, the program allows them to acquire a driver’s license and access in-state-tuition fees.

As we reported earlier, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton released a letter addressed to the Trump administration asking them to rescind the DACA program by September 5, threatening legal action if their demands are not met. The action will not be an abrupt termination. But they are proposing a “phasing off,” in which new applications will not be considered and there will be no renewals.

Nine attorneys general and one governor of red states put their names on the letter. Read more about this threat and the response in Arizona by following this link.

Just this week, members of the Hispanic Caucus gathered in a closed-door meeting with Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly. He stated that the program that protects 800,000 individuals is in jeopardy. He mentioned the legal cases that are already challenging the program as the reason for his communication.

DREAMers and advocates have started to sound the alarm for weeks, but Kelly’s announcement was especially worrisome.

The DACA program is in its fifth year of implementation and has brought clear benefits to the U.S.  Ninety-five percent of DACA beneficiaries work, study or do both. They contribute millions of dollars to colleges and universities nationwide. They have improved their earnings and pay higher taxes. Many of the economic gains made by DACA individuals are invested in advancing their education, buying homes and cars, and creating businesses.

There are a good number of studies that attest to the success of the program. You can read those here and here.

DREAMers are scared. Allies are alarmed. There is no reason to panic. But we must push back the efforts to eliminate DACA and start organizing with the same fervor as we did in 2012.

Lacey and Larkin Frontera Fund will be providing information, guidance, and assistance in the fight to preserve DACA and fight for the permanent solution: A DREAM Act legislation.