On Press Call, Advocates, Legal Experts, and Impacted Individuals React to Latest on DACA

On Press Call, Advocates, Legal Experts, and Impacted Individuals React to Latest on DACA

Washington, D.C. – Today, on a press conference call at 11 AM Eastern, a group of advocates, experts, and litigators reacted to the latest ruling from Judge Andrew Hanen in the U.S. District Court in the Southern District of Texas against the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. The speakers discussed the next steps and the information DACA recipients, their families and the broader public need to know.

On the call, Andrea Senteno, DC Regional Counsel, MALDEF, said: “Judge Hanen had previously concluded that DACA violates the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), and yesterday’s ill-reasoned decision carries forward his flawed analysis of both the standing issues in this case and DACA’s legality. Ultimately, the issues here on standing and the legality of the DACA initiative will need to be resolved by higher courts, and MALDEF looks forward to continuing to defend the lawful and much-needed DACA program on appeal.​”

Glo Choi, Community Organizer at the HANA Center (Illinois affiliate of NAKASEC Network), said: “This decision is a reminder that we cannot wait for the courts to act for our communities. DACA alone cannot be enough. We need permanent protections, and we need them for all of us, not just for a few. In the face of unprecedented attacks on our immigrant communities nationwide, President Biden and Congress have a choice: they are either with us or against us. That 11 million of us continue to live undocumented without dignity and without protection is due to their lack of responsibility and action. We call on them to pass the registry bill and secure permanent protections for the 11 million.”

Areli Hernandez, DACA recipient and Director of Executive Affairs at CHIRLA said: “California is the state with the biggest population of DACA beneficiaries (some 165,000), the Los Angeles area has nearly 70,000 and now we see a new population of immigrants who are coming of age in undocumented status because of decisions like that of Judge Hanen’s – fueled by the hostile politics of the previous President, his allies in Congress, and states like Texas and Florida. They have closed the doors of opportunity.  Our fight for justice is not new or recent. We led and fought the fight for immigration justice that resulted in the DACA program in 2012. And we will continue to fight. Like me, more than half a million people who are DACA holders have developed deep roots in this country, we will not  be uprooted based on political whims..”

Angel Reyes, DACA recipient and Long Island Organizing Coordinator of Make the Road New York said, “My children are two out of the more than 200,000 US citizen children of DACA recipients; in this moment I am thinking of them. DACA has benefited families like mine enormously and must be protected. At the same time, we know it has only been a palliative measure to address a bigger problem that needs to be resolved. Congress and the Biden administration must act immediately to ensure we can live with the respect and dignity we deserve.”

Bruna Sollod, Senior Political Director at United We Dream said: “This moment isn’t just about DACA or immigrant youth, it’s about a blatant and inhumane attack on all immigrants in this country by right-wing officials. From legal attacks on deportation protections and work permits, to right-wing politicians who are passing anti-immigrant legislation in their states and adding razor wire buoys in the Rio Grande meant to hurt immigrants who are seeking a better life.

“Words from elected officials are insufficient at this moment. The Biden administration must deliver on their campaign promises with actions by allowing people the freedom to work, to move freely, and to not live in fear of being separated from their families. Congress must create and expand pathways to citizenship for all 11 million undocumented people, and governors, mayors, city officials must prepare for a moment where DACA could go away completely with a robust local response.”

Vanessa Cárdenas, Executive Director of America’s Voice said: “DACA is incredibly successful; it strengthens our economy, our communities, and provides a way for people who came as children to work, study, live their lives and support their families. What is standing between us and allowing Dreamers to contribute fully and permanently as equal partners in our country and society are our out-of-date policies and out-of-step politicians blocking progress.

“We urge Congress to act, we urge President Biden to use every power available to him under current law to protect immigrants and allow them to fully contribute.  Let’s be clear, we are not a country divided on this issue. Support for Dreamers is deep, durable and bipartisan among Americans, and the American people are clear that they want a solution that legalizes immigrants, including Dreamers.”

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