RALEIGH (June 18, 2020) – Today, the U.S. Supreme Court held that the thousands of immigrant youth who benefit from the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program will remain protected by holding that the program’s termination was “arbitrary and capricious.”
The DACA program shields from deportation immigrant youth brought to the U.S. when they were children who completed educational or military programs in the U.S. In a 5-4 vote, the Supreme Court declared that the Trump Administration wrongly terminated the DACA program by failing to consider the harm that the decision would cause DACA holders and otherwise skirting procedural requirements. As such, DACA beneficiaries may remain in the U.S. and continue their enormous contributions to their state, communities, and families.
With DACA, recipients are able to work and remain legally in the U.S. The program has helped approximately 28,000 individuals in North Carolina, many of whom graduated from state schools and continued their education, worked to support their families, and otherwise contributed to the economic prosperity of our state. Estimates show that the removal of DACA recipients from the economy would have precipitated a loss of $1.1 billion to North Carolina’s GDP.
Because DACA was not intended to become a permanent solution to protect immigrant youth, Congress must act to ensure DACA recipients have a pathway to citizenship. Bills seeking protection for DACA recipients have long had bi-partisan support. We urge North Carolina senators Thom Tillis and Richard Burr to back a bill that protects DACA recipients and provides them with a pathway to citizenship. In doing so, the lives of DACA recipients cannot be utilized as a political tool to further implement the Trump administration’s anti-immigrant agenda. Long-term protections for DACA holders should not be tied to further funding for the border wall, ICE enforcement or other enforcement-focused measures.
The North Carolina legislature must also take up measures that make DACA recipients eligible for in-state tuition to colleges and universities and for professional licenses so that DACA holders who benefitted from the state’s investment in their K-12 education can pursue their educational goals and use those skills to benefit our state.
Thousands of DACA recipients are risking their lives as frontline workers during the COVID-19 emergency. Others have contributed substantially to the strength and vitality of their families and communities. We applaud today’s Supreme Court decision not only because it is legally right, but because it also upholds the dignity and worth of DACA holders and recognizes them as part of the fabric of our nation.
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