WASHINGTON, Sept. 5, 2017 — Today the Trump administration announced the rescission of the transformative DACA program, which for over five years has successfully allowed close to 800,000 immigrant youth to pursue their full potential and contribute more fully to their communities. President Trump decided to end the program despite repeatedly telling immigrant youth not to worry.
The Department of Homeland Security will cut off all new applications immediately. Those whose DACA permits expire between now and March 5, 2018, can apply for a two-year renewal by Oct. 5.
Marielena Hincapié, executive director of the National Immigration Law Center, issued the following statement:
“This is a defining moment for our country. We are being called upon to choose which side of history we are on: Are we going to stand with young people who have grown up in our country and are striving to achieve their dreams? Or are we going to allow policymakers to erect barriers that block youth from contributing their best to this country, which is their home?
“President Trump allowed DACA to continue for his first seven months in office. He told young immigrant people that they could ‘rest easy’ and not fear deportation. Now Trump has bowed to his anti-immigrant advisors and base—putting politics above people, hate above reason.
“This is a morally bankrupt choice. Trump’s decision to pull the rug out from under nearly a million young people who are contributing to their communities across the country will only serve to destabilize these young people, their families, and their communities.
“DACA applicants relied on a promise by the federal government to allow them to live and work without fear of being deported if they came forward, paid a fee, passed a background check, and were deemed eligible after meeting certain requirements. The National Immigration Law Center will vigorously defend their rights—in the courtroom, if necessary—should the government renege on that promise.
“We call on educators, faith leaders, businesses, labor unions, health professionals, and all people of good conscience—regardless of political party affiliation—to stand on the right side of history and by the side of immigrant youth and their families. We must do everything in our reach to ensure they are safe, empowered, and can continue to thrive.
“Though we are heartbroken and enraged, it is crucial in this moment to recall the tremendous organizing power and energy that won DACA in the first place. Now, more than ever, we must all stand up and fight alongside immigrant youth who are fighting to maintain their livelihoods and their sense of security and belonging in this country. DACA is only the beginning of what we can do.
“We urge all members of Congress to swiftly pass the bipartisan Dream Act 2017. However, we are steadfast in our commitment to advancing the rights of all low-income immigrants and will not accept any bill that aims to further militarize border communities, ramps up Trump’s mass deportation force, or diminishes workers’ rights. The lives of immigrant youth are not a bargaining chip.”