CAPAC Members Defend DACA Program

Aug 31, 2017 Issues: Immigration

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Asian American and Pacific Islander community leaders held a press conference outside of the White House to defend the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program that President Trump has threatened to eliminate. Since its creation in 2012, the DACA program has granted nearly 800,000 young people with the ability to pursue jobs and achieve higher education without fear of deportation. Members of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC) released the following statements to support DACA:

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

“As Chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, I want to thank the coalition of DREAMers, faith leaders, and community leaders who have been standing outside of the White House – day and night, night and day – to defend DACA. I am here to support you and to join you in telling President Trump that our DREAMers are here to stay!

“Over the past five years, the DACA program has enabled nearly 800,000 young people who were brought to the United States as children to come out of the shadows. This includes many Asians and Pacific Islanders who have been able to go to school, attain work permits, and pursue their dreams. All of our DACA recipients have passed rigorous background checks to participate in the program. And they are American in every sense of the word except on paper.

“Unfortunately, President Trump has threatened to end the DACA program as we know it. But we will fight back. I want our DREAMers to know that there are members of Congress who support you and who will continue to fight to protect DACA and to fix our broken immigration system.

“We will not allow our immigrant communities to be trampled upon. I want our DACA recipients and our TPS recipients to know that we support you. Together, we will fight to protect our immigrant communities and ensure that America continues to remain the land of opportunity for all!”

Senator Mazie K. Hirono (HI):

“Hundreds of thousands of DREAMers, including nearly 600 in Hawaii, have the opportunity to pursue education and careers in the only country they know as home through DACA. Ending DACA would be just the latest in the President’s attacks on immigrants, and I urge him to continue protections for DREAMers, as he previously said he would.”

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

“Today, we’re fighting for the 1.7 million young immigrants, including the 130,000 who are AAPI, who are eligible for DACA protection. DREAMers grew up in our communities as our neighbors and friends. We have invested in them and they have given back so much to us. We’ll continue standing with DREAMers in spite of whatever actions the Trump Administration takes.”

Congressman Ami Bera (CA-07):

“Children brought to the United States – through no fault of their own – deserve our compassion. These children have passed background checks and are already contributing to our economy as productive residents. Detaining and deporting children is not only morally wrong, it doesn’t make economic sense.”

Congresswoman Doris Matsui (CA-06):

“DREAMers in Sacramento and across the country are working hard to pursue their American dream. Ending DACA would be devastating for the hundreds of thousands of families who are benefiting from the program and contributing to our nation’s progress. This vital program must be protected.”

Congresswoman Grace Meng (NY-06):

“We have all heard the news reports that the president intends to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. Not only is this decision inhumane, it openly abandons American values and principles and would rip families apart. Thus far, DACA has enabled 800,000 DREAMers who came to the United States as children, through no decision of their own, to get an education, to get jobs, and to meaningfully contribute to the economy of the only country they have ever called home.

“A vast majority of Americans believe that these young people should be allowed to permanently remain in the United States. 87% of DACA recipients are employed, and estimates suggest that ending DACA would result in over 400 billion dollars in losses to the economy. But even more than this, ending DACA would strip away the opportunity for millions of Americans to achieve the American Dream while threatening to separate families. How can that possibly make America great?

“The answer: it doesn’t and it can’t. So today, we join together and demand that President Trump reverse course and protect DACA. Protect the DREAMers in this country who have been here their whole lives, who yearn to come out of the shadows, and who continue to show us what the American Dream truly means.”

Congresswoman Stephanie Murphy (FL-07):

“Dreamers were brought to this country as children through no fault of their own by families who were simply seeking better lives. After many years of living in the shadows, these individuals were given the opportunity to live out their version of the American Dream through the DACA program. Many of them have gone on to pursue higher education and have become doctors, engineers, teachers, and other productive and talented members of our society.

“In the words of a Dreamer named Claudia Jimenez Contreras who is living, working, and attending the University of Central Florida in my district, Dreamers like her could be deported back to ‘a country [they] do not know, and the United States will lose out on thousands of young people who love this country, work hard, and want to stay here.’

“Sending these young Americans back to a country they do not know would be cruel and would deal a severe blow to the communities across the country that have embraced them as their own. I urge the Administration to recognize the compelling stories of each of these individuals and to preserve the DACA program.”

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

“President Trump’s decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program would be shocking if it weren’t so predictable from a president who has routinely demonized immigrants. It is absurd to think that our nation’s interests are served by ending DACA. This program has allowed nearly one million young adults to contribute to their communities. These young people believe firmly in the promise of the United States and consider themselves patriotic Americans. It is now time for Republicans in Congress to stand up. Congress must act to reverse this harmful and revolting policy change. I look forward to seeing whether my colleagues will stand up for what is right.”

Congressman Keith Ellison (MN-05):

“I am proud to stand with you today in spirit and in solidarity to fight for DACA and the young DREAMers in our communities. Since this road began five years ago, I have fought every step of the way for DACA youth to be recognized and supported in our country. My constituents who are DACA recipients make up the very fabric of our communities – as parents, students, veterans, law clerks, teachers, and more – and I couldn’t be prouder to represent them and their families in Congress.

“Today, DACA – and the nearly 800,000 young Americans in our country who are a part of it – are under attack. Without congressional action by September 5, DACA may be phased out or rescinded by the White House, leaving almost a million youth and their families vulnerable to deportation and preventing them from continuing to openly contribute to our country and our communities. This is an unacceptable reality, given all that DREAMers contribute to our country and the trust that they have placed in our government.

“These threats also betray the will of the American people. New research shows that three in four people who voted for President Trump support permanent legal status for DREAMers, and that nearly 80% of the general public feels the same. Legislation in Congress to create a pathway for DACA recipients and other qualifying Americans has enjoyed longtime bipartisan support, including mine. I urge my colleagues in Congress to act immediately on the DREAM Act and support DACA youth now, and I urge this administration to publicly commit to upholding and defending DACA. If you’re among the vast majority of Americans who agree, let your representatives know how you feel.

“Beyond DACA, we must all stand strong to support everyone in our community regardless of immigration status. If you are here, you’re part of this American family. It’s our mandate to continue fighting for comprehensive immigration reform so that all in our country can be protected.”

Congressman Jerry McNerney (CA-09):

“Instead of tackling the real problem that is our broken immigration system, this administration wants to roll back a policy that has helped hundreds of thousands of children and families. For many DACA recipients – who often come to the U.S. fleeing dire situations – this is the only home they have ever known and they proudly call themselves Americans. “It is heartbreaking that our children and their families are facing such hateful rhetoric and unprecedented targeting at the hands of this administration. We must commit to reforms that will allow people, who have long contributed to our nation, to feel safe knowing their families will not be torn apart.”

Congressman Scott Peters (CA-52):

“Asian American and Pacific Islanders are the fastest-growing cultural group in San Diego. They represent over 10 percent of our population and own almost 300,000 businesses in San Diego, adding vibrancy to our city and growing our economy. In the absence of comprehensive immigration reform, we need to ensure families are not ripped apart. DACA allowed children to come out of the shadows and build a better life in America. They are our neighbors; they are entrepreneurs; they are an important part of our community. We can’t allow policies fueled by hate and fear to send these immigrants back into the shadows or marginalize the 500,000 Asian American and Pacific Islanders who call San Diego home.”

Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky (IL-09):

“For five years, the DACA program has allowed young DREAMers to showcase the promise and potential of our nation’s immigrants. I know from meeting with DREAMers in my own district that given the opportunity, they have worked, studied, and contributed immensely to our country. America’s strength is in our diversity, and the DACA program has proven just that.

“The campaign to dismantle the program is senseless and hateful. DREAMers deserve to know that their immigration status is not under threat. Instead of threatening hard-working immigrants, President Trump should work for comprehensive reform that strengthens our nation by keeping families together and allowing everyone in our country to live up to their full potential.”

Congressman Adam Smith (WA-09):

“Ending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program would disrespect America’s values. DACA has provided relief to nearly 800,000 immigrant youth, protecting individuals from deportation who were brought to the United States as children through no fault of their own. Known as DREAMers, these young people serve in our military, attend school, give back to our communities, and contribute to the American social fabric. I have long supported the DACA program and will continue to do everything in my power to protect DREAMers from deportation.

“DREAMers came out of the shadows and willingly gave their information to the government, trusting that they would be protected. Now their futures are in peril and uncertain. The Trump Administration’s nationalistic immigration policies continue to threaten our country’s principles, undermine the economy, and tear families apart. I urge the President to respect our history as a nation of immigrants, and allow DACA to continue.”

Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez (NY-07):

“I’m honored to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the faces of the resistance, the Dreamers, these inspiring young people. You are our future! We are here to speak with one voice to send a unified message. President Trump – we will not stand by as your Administration attacks our immigrant brothers and sisters.

“In this country, we are all immigrants! Our nation was built on a simple, inspiring promise – if you come here, work hard and contribute to your community – then you ARE an American. That principle, that inclusiveness, is what has made America great! And, today, the young people here – these Dreamers – exemplify that spirit. These young Americans will be our future doctors. They will be our engineers, our entrepreneurs and our public servants.

“And, yes, Mr. President, they are Americans! Many of these young people have known no other home. Some of them speak only English. Some came here when they were so young that they cannot even remember the journey. But, their parents brought them here in search of a better life. They took great personal risk and traveled long distances. They came here for a multitude of personal reasons. But they all came looking for that simple, but unique and inspiring compact – the promise that America is the land of opportunity – a place where anyone with a dream and the right talent and perseverance can succeed.

“So I say simply this, Mr. President, look at these young faces. These are the faces of America. And, Mr. President, they are here to stay!”

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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.