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Trump Administration Must Maintain DACA Until Congress Passes a Permanent Legislative Solution for Immigrant Youth

Statement by Mary Meg McCarthy, Executive Director, Heartland Alliance’s National Immigrant Justice Center

Heartland Alliance’s National Immigrant Justice Center (NIJC) welcomes the reintroduction of the DREAM Act of 2017, bipartisan legislation introduced today by Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) which would provide legislative protection from the fear of deportation, and a roadmap to citizenship, for certain immigrant youth. The DREAM Act would allow young men and women who have grown up as Americans in every meaningful way and who are already ingrained in our communities to continue contributing to our society without fear of being deported from the only home they’ve ever known.

As Congress considers the DREAM Act, we call on the Trump administration to keep in place the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which provides temporary protection from deportation for the same individuals who would be eligible for permanent relief under the DREAM Act.

As a long-time advocate for the DREAM Act and a strong believer in its potential to improve stability and security for all Americans, NIJC strongly encourages members of Congress to refrain from using this legislation to embolden enforcement efforts that ultimately serve only to increase fear in our communities and hurt families. Congress must uphold the rights of all immigrants, including new arrivals seeking protection, those who have lived here for decades, and people who have been swept up in the criminal justice system that unfairly targets communities of color.