As fans across the country watch the World Series between the Houston Astros and the Los Angeles Dodgers, it’s hard to miss that America’s pastime is one of the most diverse sports leagues in the nation.
And it is fitting that the two teams vying for the championship represent cities whose vibrancy is equally powered by the strength of that diversity and the contributions of immigrants.
Among the teams’ fans and in the cities they call home, there are thousands of immigrants who have Temporary Protected Status (TPS), as well as young immigrants who have grown up here and are eligible for the recently rescinded Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).
In Los Angeles, there are more than 34,000 TPS holders from El Salvador and Honduras, and 123,000 young people eligible for DACA.
In Houston, there are more than 23,000 Temporary Protected Status holders from Honduras and El Salvador and 44,000 young people immediately eligible for DACA.
Like baseball, these individuals are as American as apple pie. But recent and potential decisions by the Trump administration and Congress could put their futures at risk.
On September 5, the president announced that he would rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Since 2012, DACA has provided hundreds of thousands of undocumented youth with opportunities to get an education and a good job without fear of deportation. The president’s announcement suddenly placed the lives of nearly 800,000 workers, students, and homeowners in the United States in limbo. Now, gains that these young immigrants were able to make due to the program are in jeopardy.
Homeownership is one of the many gains DACA recipients have achieved since the program began. In a 2015 survey of more than 1,700 DACA recipients, more than half reported getting their first credit card, and 12 percent had a mortgage or had their name on their family’s lease. DACA opened up opportunities for young immigrants to establish a formal record of work and credit history with a social security number, which they used to help them qualify for a loan to buy their first home. For DACA homeowners, their first home purchase was a dream shared by their families, and an important step towards financial stability and building family wealth.
A potential deal between Democrats and the president over how to fix DACA may have been announced late last night, but that didn’t stop hundreds of Latino activists, community leaders, and advocates from marching and rallying at the White House today to tell the Trump administration that on DACA and a host of other issues, “enough was enough.”
UnidosUS joined the rally, organized by the National Hispanic Leadership Agenda, to join the call that our community will no longer tolerate the racist rhetoric that has become a defining feature of this young administration.
You too can join the action to show your solidarity with DREAMers. To start, go to unidos.us/heretostay and take our pledge to stand with DREAMers. When you do, you’ll become part of a growing network of advocates who are working to fight back against the forces of hate and bigotry.
By Carlos A. Guevara, Senior Policy Advisor, UnidosUS
For the past five years, DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals), a lawful and incredibly successful program, has transformed the lives of nearly 800,000 undocumented youth who came to the United States as young children. President Trump’s decision to end DACA means that hundreds of thousands of young people are now relying on Congress to come up with a bipartisan solution in order to ensure that they are not thrust back into the shadows.
On July 20, 2017, Senators Richard Durbin (D-Ill.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) introduced the DREAM (Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors) Act of 2017. This is the latest iteration of this important piece of legislation, which has historically enjoyed bipartisan support in Congress. UnidosUS is encouraged by this most recent effort to reach across the aisle and once again attempt a meaningful, bipartisan solution for the many DREAMers living in our communities and making significant contributions to our nation.
The news comes at an important time. Last week we wrote about renewed threats to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy following a meeting between the Congressional Hispanic Caucus and the administration’s top immigration enforcer, U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly. The meeting followed a letter sent by 10 attorneys general threatening to present a legal challenge to DACA unless the administration takes steps to unwind the policy on their own accord. The Trump administration has until September 5 to decide on how it will respond.
In response to a new memo released yesterday by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) on the continuation of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program and the rescission of the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) program, NCLR President and CEO Janet Murguía issued the following statement:
“While we applaud the administration’s apparent decision to keep DACA in place, today’s action is far from reassuring. The announcement that DACA would not be repealed was coupled with a decision to formally revoke DAPA, which would have given temporary protected status to an estimated five million parents of U.S. citizens. Further, the Trump administration took pains to note that they have not yet decided on DACA’s long-term future, as if the benefits to our economy, our society and the more than 750,000 young people beginning their adult lives in the only country they have ever known can be debated or denied. Claiming that DACA recipients are safe, while ending protections for parents and issuing executive orders to increase an already draconian enforcement policy does not actually ensure their safety or anyone else’s. This is why NCLR will continue to protect and defend the Latino and immigrant communities in the United States, and continue advocating for commonsense, comprehensive immigration reform.”
On June 7, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)—the federal agency in charge of processing all immigration-related services—released data on applications filed under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy. The data confirm that, in the first three months of the Trump administration, USCIS has continued to receive and process DACA requests at similar levels to those during the previous year.
Between January and March 2017, USCIS approved 107,524 DACA renewals and 17,275 new applications. The numbers are comparable to the previous three-month period (October to December 2016).
On January 18, in anticipation of expected executive orders on immigration from the Trump administration, NCLR signed onto a letter from the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights urging the new president to keep the DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) program for immigrant youth intact.
The DACA program was established in 2012 under former President Obama to grant temporary deportation relief to undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States before their sixteenth birthday. More than 750,000 individuals—known as “DREAMers”—have enjoyed the benefits of the DACA program. For many DREAMers who have grown up in the United States, this has been the only country that they have ever known.
We applaud the bipartisan bill legislation Senator Lindsey Graham (R-N.C.) and Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) introduced late last week that would provide provisional protected status for DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) recipients.
The 2012 program allows unauthorized immigrants who were brought to the United States as children—also known as “DREAMers”—who have completed or are enrolled in high school, and who have not committed serious offenses, to obtain temporary protection from deportation, as well as a work permit, renewable every two years. Since DACA’s implementation, almost 740,000 DREAMers have received temporary deportation relief.
By Janet Murguía, President and CEO, NCLR
(Originally posted 11/20/2015 on The Hill’s Congress Blog.)
It is hard to describe the joy millions of American families experienced a year ago today when President Obama announced two programs that would provide relief from deportation for many immigrants in our country who are rooted in community and family. It was visceral, the kind of joy that grips your soul until tears well up. It is not often a public policy pronouncement has that kind of immediate, deeply emotional effect. But that is what the expansion of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program and the creation of the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) program did.
After a decade of ad nauseam debate on immigration in which the latest chapter was House leadership’s aggressive refusal to vote on Senate bipartisan legislation, communities were in desperate need of relief. While some politicians talk about immigrants as if they are separate from the rest of America, the reality is that they are our coworkers, our friends, and our families. That day, millions of U.S.-citizen children, of spouses, family, and friends alike, felt that the constant anxiety of having a loved one forever plucked from their lives without notice might finally go away.
One has to imagine the depth of that relief to begin to understand the equally visceral reaction to seeing it blocked. Instead of a year in which millions of undocumented immigrants could have done what our country wants—come forward, pay a fee, get vetted, work legally—we remain mired in a fight in which opposing the president takes precedence over economic, political, and moral benefits.