Defending the DREAMers

A Call to Action to protect DACA

by Melissa Bowe, NJFON Program and Advocacy Manager   

The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program is a lifeline for nearly 800,000 young immigrants, or “DREAMers,” who came to the United States as children.

DACA allows them to live and work in the country on a renewable, two-year basis and has enabled thousands of young people to attend school, support their families, begin careers, contribute to their communities, and most importantly, pursue their dreams.

Our JFON network has handled over 2,000 DACA cases since the program began in 2012, and most of us involved in JFON have DREAMers as family members, clients, neighbors and as friends.

Now, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, along with attorneys general from Arkansas, Alabama, Idaho, Kansas, Louisiana, Nebraska, South Carolina, Tennessee, and West Virginia, has filed a lawsuit to compel the Trump administration to end this critical form of relief. The first court date will be September 5 and it is extremely important to rally support now for DACA. If you are from one of these states it is important that your senators and representative hear from you and leaders in the community who support DREAMers.

The Justice for Our Neighbors network knows that we need a solution for DREAMers which keeps families together and allows our young neighbors to make a permanent home in the United States, enabling them to fully integrate into our communities. This is why we strongly support the DREAM Act of 2017.

This Act would provide an enduring welcome for undocumented immigrant youth and young adults who know only America as their true home. It is aligned with our faith and our dedication to justice and freedom for all people in this country.

Until we pass this kind of legislation, however, we must fight to keep DACA intact.

Five years ago, the federal government made an offer in good faith with immigrant youth in this country: if they passed a criminal background check and met other conditions, they would get permission to live, study, and work here for renewable two-year periods and plan for a future in their home. Now is the time to voice our unwavering support for DACA and demand that we fulfill its promise.

The National Immigration Law Center has written about possible scenarios for DACA given current legal threats which underscore the issues and provides information to help you prepare for making calls to your senators and representative.  You can also get involved by joining a United We Dream campaign near yousigning this United We Dream petition, or writing an op-ed in support of DACA and DREAMers.

Let us know how we can support you in getting started!