President Donald Trump is poised to make a decision next Tuesday on the fate of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which offers protection from deportation as well as work authorization for some undocumented immigrants brought to America as children. DACA was implemented by the Obama administration in 2012 and enjoys broad popular support, but Trump campaigned on a platform that included repealing the measure.
Although Trump has since suggested he supports DACA, hard-line Republicans insist that Trump should stick to his campaign promises, and the state attorneys of nine Republican-stronghold states have threatened to sue the president if he doesn’t act by next Tuesday to end DACA. (Originally, Tennessee had also threatened to sue, but today Tennessee Attorney General Herbert Slatery III sent a letter rescinding the state’s inclusion in the threat.)
Immigration activists have spent the last week launching a nationwide campaign to attempt to save DACA (broadly referred to as #DefendDACA), as well as TPS — a program that protects undocumented immigrants from deportation to countries where they would face imminent physical danger if returned. One such group is NAKASEC, which earlier this month launched a 22-day, 24hr vigil in front of the White House to protect DACA and Asian American Dreamers registered under the program, as well as to protect TPS. (A live feed of the White House action can be viewed between 10am and 8pm EST here.)
Approximately 800,000 young people are registered under DACA, including at least 18,000 immigrants who arrived from Asian countries. Dreamers represent more than 6% of the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants in America, none of whom deserve to be subjected to criminalization, state detention, and forcible removal by the federal government.
Yesterday, as the deadline for DACA’s fate draws ever nearer, members of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC) joined the actions outside the White House, and held a press conference to lend their support to the broad, bipartisan call to #DefendDACA. Said Representative Judy Chu (CA-27), the chair of CAPAC:
Several other members of CAPAC — including Senator Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Representative Ted Lieu (CA-33), Representative Ami Bera (CA-07), Representative Doris Matsui (CA-06), Representative Grace Meng (NY-06), Representative Stephanie Murphy (FL-07), Representative Joseph Crowley (NY-14), Representative Keith Ellison (MN-05), Representative Jerry McNerney (CA-09), Representative Scott Peters (CA-52), Representative Jan Schakowsky (IL-09), Representative Adam Smith (WA-09), and Representative Nydia Velazquez (NY-07) — also issued individual statements in support of DACA at yesterday’s CAPAC press conference.
CAPAC has taken a strong stance in support of DACA for several years since the program was first implemented. In 2015, Chu said on behalf of CAPAC that she “urged the Supreme Court to resolve ongoing litigation surrounding [DACA and DAPA] and bring relief to millions of aspiring Americans,” while she also reiterated that CAPAC was “committed to passing commonsense legislation to fix our broken immigration system.” In June of this year, Chu reiterated CAPAC’s support of DACA in a statement saying:
You can help join the fight to Defend DACA by taking part in actions organized by NAKASEC to protect Dreamers, as well as a few other actions:
Correction: An earlier version of this post reported that there are nearly 30,000 registered Dreamers from Asian countries, however there is now some questions surrounding how to interpret numbers published in the USCIS report from which that tally was originally drawn. As such, this post has been corrected with a more conservative — but likely more accurate — number of at least 18,000 registered Dreamers from Asian countries. I apologize for any confusion.
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