Raleigh (September 5, 2017) — Amidst the devastation left by Hurricane Harvey on the eastern coast of Texas – and the likely imminent hit to Florida by Hurricane Irma – the Trump administration has dealt another strong and patently unnecessary blow to immigrant communities across the country today by ending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
The DACA program protected from deportation immigrant youth brought to the U.S. as children, allowing them to continue their contributions to the fabric of our communities. With DACA, recipients were able to work and remain legally in the U.S. DACA has been an unqualified economic and educational success, and the program’s formation was and remains well within the executive authority of the President.
The Administration’s recent announcement comes on the heels of President Trump’s pardon of the former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who was held in contempt by a federal court for defying that court’s order to cease his practice of violating the Constitutional rights of Latinos detained in his jail. These acts present a disturbing pattern of diminishing the value and accomplishments of Latino and immigrant communities in our country.
In North Carolina, the DACA program has helped approximately 28,000 individuals, many of whom graduated from state schools and used DACA to continue their education, work to support their families, and otherwise contribute to the economic prosperity of our state. The President’s actions not only harm the individuals who benefitted from DACA, but will also jeopardize the economic well-being of all North Carolinians as thousands of these workers lose their jobs. DACA recipients will be forced back into the underground economy – making them vulnerable to exploitation – in turn driving down wages and working conditions for all workers.
Nationwide, there are 800,000 brave young DACA adults. This country is their home; placing them at risk of deportation is morally wrong and is a betrayal of our values as a nation.
Of course, the solution now lies in the hands of Congress, who must support bipartisan efforts to protect DACA recipients in the next six months. We urge Senators Thom Tillis and Richard Burr to join other members of Congress and pass an unconditional bill that protects these young immigrants from being deported to countries they don’t even recognize.
At a time when we need every member of this nation to help the people of Texas and Louisiana recover and rebuild after Harvey’s destruction, the Trump administration instead chose to push DACA recipients, along with their talents, skills, and abilities, back into the shadows. The President abdicated his responsibility to these children, and it is now up to the rest of us to acknowledge the contributions of DACA recipients and work together to ensure adoption of a law that protects them from deportation.