FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Sept. 5, 2017
Mi Familia Vota Calls For Immediate Passage of Strong DREAM Act
Tragic day for DACA recipients as President decides to end program
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Nearly 800,000 young adults who have thrived in the U.S. and helped grow the economy with protection from deportation and a work permit under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), had their dreams shattered Tuesday after the Trump administration announced plans to phase out the program that has strong bipartisan support across the nation. The president will begin phasing out the program in six months to let Congress decide in the meantime whether and how to protect 800,000 young Americans who were brought to the U.S. as children without documents.
Although Trump promised during his campaign to rescind DACA, and then backed away from it after his election, promising to deal with DACA “with heart,” Trump received a threat in late June from Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton and nine other attorneys general that they would file a lawsuit to end DACA if the president did not. One of the states, Tennessee, backed out of the threatened lawsuit last week, preferring to let Congress decide the issue.
Mi Familia Vota Executive Director Ben Monterroso criticized the administration’s action and called on Congress to pass the DREAM Act to provide protections for DACA recipients and others. The following is a statement by Monterroso:
“It is with a heavy heart that I acknowledge how deeply disappointing and tragic this day is for our community, a day in which the U.S. turned its back on our immigrant youths. The administration is being mean-spirited, taking this action in response to bullying tactics led by Texas, a state which has increased pressure on the immigrant community even as it struggles to deal with Hurricane Harvey clean up. There are about 124,300 DACA recipients in Texas alone.
“This is a cruel way to treat the 800,000 young people in the program across the nation who went to college, served in the military, started their own businesses, bought homes and started families because of DACA. DREAMers make our country and communities stronger. In good faith, immigrant youth trusted that our government appreciate the contributions they make every day, but now they have been left exposed and betrayed.
“People of conscience will never forget this day. Our values were fundamentally betrayed by the president and the Republican Party that had the opportunity to prevent this attack. Through this action they have jeopardized the U.S. economy and our moral standing in the world.
“As a community, we demand the immediate passage of a strong DREAM Act of 2017, which already has bipartisan support. As voters, we must demand more from our lawmakers, beyond mere statements and tweets of support. We need action.
“Mi Familia Vota has fought back against the racist, nativist rhetoric of the Trump Administration, and our heart continues to lie in building power in Latino communities so that they may determine the future of their own our community. This fight is far from over, and we will not tolerate being used as political pawns.”
ALSO: COMMENTS FROM DACA RECIPIENTS:
Liz Magallanes, Mi Familia Vota Texas coordinator in Dallas noted that “DACA is a victory that was won through the hard work and determination of my predecessors in the movement. It is their courage, resilience, and refusal to accept the status quo that has allowed us to continue to fight for our community. We are more determined than ever to protect our victory and push for freedom for our families.”
“On a day like today, I reflect on that same courage and that same determination my mother had and that she instilled in my siblings and me, that little voice that tells me, ‘Don’t give up.’ I’m not giving up and neither the hundreds of thousands of others who qualified for DACA,” said Salvador Hernandez, Colorado State Coordinator and DACA beneficiary. “We are going to organize. We are going to fight for the DREAM Act. And we are going to win.”
DACA recipient Vanessa Quevedo, a first-year university student and volunteer for Mi Familia Vota (MFV) Colorado, said, “I have lived in the United States my whole life and I lived in constant fear of an uncertain future. DACA gave me freedom. DACA allowed me to pursue my dreams of higher education, and it granted me freedom from fear. DACA gave me the strength to fight for my dreams, and I fear that without DACA, I and many Americans will be forced back into a state of fear.”