CAPAC Commemorates Fifth Anniversary of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Program

Jun 15, 2017 Issues: Immigration

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today marks the fifth anniversary of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. DACA grants undocumented immigrants who were brought to this country as children with temporary relief to stay and work in the U.S. without fear of deportation. Since 2012, nearly 790,000 undocumented Americans have enrolled in the DACA program. Members of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC) released the following statements:

Congresswoman Judy Chu (CA-27), CAPAC Chair:

“Since the inception of the DACA program in 2012, hundreds of thousands of undocumented youth across this nation have been able to come out of the shadows, obtain work permits, and pursue the American Dream. Over the past five years, DACA has ensured that DREAMers – including many undocumented Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders – can live their lives without fear of deportation.

“Unfortunately, the integrity of the DACA program is now being threatened under the Trump Administration. As part of his mass deportation plan, President Trump has espoused hateful rhetoric targeting immigrant communities, detained and deported DACA recipients, and promoted anti-immigrant policies that threaten to tear families apart and undermine public safety.

“These hateful policies are unconscionable and do not reflect our values as a nation. Our immigrant communities, including the 1 in 7 Asian immigrants that are undocumented, should not live in fear. As Chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, I will continue to defend the DACA program and to ensure that America continues to remain the land of opportunity for all.”

Senator Mazie Hirono (HI):

“As we mark the fifth anniversary of the DACA program, undocumented immigrants across our country are facing an uncertain future. I will fight the Trump Administration’s inhumane efforts to rip DREAMers and other undocumented immigrants away from their families and the only country they know. We need comprehensive immigration reform that provides a path forward to keep families together.”

Congressman Joe Crowley (NY-14), Chairman of the House Democratic Caucus:

“Five years ago, the DACA program for ‘DREAMer’ children did much to alleviate the fear these children, who spent the majority of their lives in America, faced each day. Unfortunately, the Trump administration is bound and determined to not only roll back many of the Obama-led advancements, but enact policies that will tear families apart. On the fifth anniversary of the DACA program, we should reinforce our commitment to continue fighting for immigrant rights and upholding the American value of welcoming individuals to our country regardless of their background, race, or ethnicity.”

Congressman Ted Lieu (CA-33), CAPAC Whip:

“It has been five years since President Obama recognized the significance of bringing DREAMers out of the shadows. The children protected by DACA grew up in our communities and call the United States home just like the rest of us and deserve this protection. Like many of my colleagues, I am unnerved by the Trump Administration’s anti-immigrant actions and rhetoric. Democrats are fighting every day to enact legislation that protects DREAMers and reforms our immigration system in a comprehensive and humane manner. I urge my Republican colleagues to join us to pass legislation that brings our undocumented friends and neighbors into the fold and recognizes the strength of our diversity.”

Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), CAPAC Immigration Task Force Chair:

“In 2012, President Obama gave hope to hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrants when he announced the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. The courage and story-telling and organizing of the DREAMer movement brought this issue at the forefront. Five years on, I am proud to have fought for DACA as an advocate and an organizer. I’m particularly proud of the work we did in Washington state to raise up the voices of the API community and API youth in the fight for DACA. Instead of ramping up draconian enforcement and detention measures, we should be investing in education, jobs, affordable housing and health care, and getting to the real bipartisan work of passing comprehensive immigration reform.”

Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02):

“Today marks the 5th anniversary of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program (DACA) which has allowed hundreds of thousands of undocumented children to come out of the shadows and join the country many have called home their entire lives. While DACA has transformed the futures of young Americans – including Asian and Pacific Islanders – in Hawaii and across the country, millions of children still rely on a permanent solution to stay and pursue their dreams to go to college, find a job, serve their country, and to celebrate their love for America openly with their friends and neighbors. I will continue to fight for a permanent solution for DREAMers and a pathway to citizenship for immigrants to ensure they can find a way to be a part of our great country.” 

Congresswoman Doris Matsui (CA-06):

“Immigrants are a part of our American story and make our country stronger. I will continue to advocate in Congress for the preservation of the DACA program and for the full support of DREAMers, because our nation must remain a beacon of hope for all.”

Congresswoman Grace Meng (NY-06):

“The United States has always been a nation of immigrants, and I am proud that five years ago, President Obama announced the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. This program has been instrumental in helping thousands of young people come out of the shadows to study and work in the only country they have ever known. Though the future of this program remains unknown, I will continue to push for commonsense and compassionate immigration reform and reject any harmful policies advanced by the current Administration.”

Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard (CA-40):

“DACA has enabled young immigrants from across our nation to work, go to school, and contribute to the well-being of our communities.  Unfortunately, on this DACA anniversary, Americans who have benefited from DACA face new uncertainty and fear in light of the Trump Administration’s immigration policies.  We must pass comprehensive immigration reform so that we can fix our broken immigration system and provide clarity and certainty not only for DACA recipients, but also for businesses, families, and all immigrants.”

Congressman Adam Smith (WA-09):

“Throughout our history, immigrants have strengthened our communities, our economy, and our country's future. Five years ago, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program was created to halt the deportation of undocumented children in the United States. Young people across the United States applied for the DACA program with the promise that doing so would not result in immigration enforcement actions as long as they followed the law. DACA is a critical part of building towards an immigration policy that is consistent with American values. As we recognize the anniversary of DACA’s creation, I will continue to advocate for comprehensive immigration reform that allows families to stay together, businesses to thrive, and keeps our country safe.”

Congresswoman Bonnie Watson Coleman (NJ-12):

“Five years ago, when President Obama created the DACA program, he simultaneously enabled its beneficiaries to come out of the shadows and become engaged participants in our communities and our country. This program has not only reached the intended beneficiaries, as each day these men and women help weave the ever growing fabric of our nation. This program has been essential to ensure that those individuals brought to the United States as children, through no fault of their own, are able to work and study just like other Americans.

“Sadly, the Trump Administration refuses to guarantee the public that DACA recipients are protected under current administration policy. A refusal that simply flies in the face of nation’s values and interests, breaks the promise we made to these families and undermines the programs proven nationwide benefits. It is my hope that this Congress works together to further the progress that DACA initiated, through comprehensive immigration reform, to ensure that the American dream continues be attainable for all.”

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The Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC) is comprised of Members of Congress of Asian and Pacific Islander descent and Members who have a strong dedication to promoting the well-being of the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community. Currently chaired by Congresswoman Judy Chu, CAPAC has been addressing the needs of the AAPI community in all areas of American life since it was founded in 1994.