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AMERICAN GATEWAYS: CONGRESS SHOULD ACT TO SUPPORT DREAMERS IN RESPONSE TO DHS MEMO

Austin-based American Gateways, which provides legal assistance to immigrants in more than 20 Central Texas counties urges Congress to act to provide legislative protection and a path to permanent protection and stability for DREAMers. The administration’s refusal to accept the the recent Supreme Court ruling and restore DACA in full is a clear signal of  its intent to end this program. Without permanent protection nearly 700,000 DREAMers are at risk of deportation. 

Rebecca Lightsey, Executive Director of American Gateways stated: “DACA has provided protection for hundreds of thousands of immigrants and their families. DREAMers have built their lives here. They are integral to our society and should not be discounted. Refusing to accept initial applications and cutting the time for DACA renewals is cruel and unjust and will have a negative impact on our economy.”

In June the Supreme Court struck down the administration’s illegal attempt to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Despite the Supreme Court’s decision, DHS has refused to accept initial DACA applications. Based on this refusal, a US District Court ordered the government to comply with Court directives to restore the DACA program and gave the administration 30 days to clarify the status of the DACA program. In response to the Judge’s order, DHS issued a memo directing officials to reject all new and pending DACA applications and requests for advance parole. At the same time, it cut the duration of future DACA renewals from two years to only one.

Lightsey went on to add, “We need a permanent and sustainable solution for DREAMers, their families, and our community. The actions of DHS in cutting DACA benefits, only amplify the need for Congressional action. It is imperative for DREAMers to have a path to lawful permanent residency and citizenship in the US.”

The households of DACA recipients pay $5.6 billion in federal taxes and $3.1 billion in state and local taxes, each year. Texas alone has over 109,000 DACA recipients, most of whom arrived to the US when they were under the age of 10. With the current COVID 19 pandemic, over 200,000 DACA recipients are on the front lines working to help protect the health and safety of Americans. They are medical and health care professionals, agricultural workers, and transportation workers, to name a few. They are considered essential and provide critical infrastructure on the frontlines, and without them our country would not be able to function. 

MORE: Contact Rebecca Lightsey, American Gateways, 512-478-0546 ext. 208 or rebeccal@americangateways.org

American Gateways champions the rights of immigrants, refugees and survivors of persecution, torture, conflict and human trafficking through immigration legal services, at low or no cost, as well as education and advocacy.

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