CAPAC Members Observe 8th Anniversary of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program Amidst Looming Supreme Court Decision

Jun 15, 2020 Issues: Immigration

Washington, D.C. - Today marks the eighth anniversary of the creation of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Since its inception in 2012, DACA has granted protections to nearly 700,000 undocumented youth who were brought to this country as children, allowing them to stay and work in the United States without fear of deportation. The program was rescinded in September 2017 by the Trump Administration and the Supreme Court is expected to rule this month on whether the program can remain in place. Members of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC) released the following statements:

CAPAC Leadership

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

“Eight years ago, DACA recognized the contributions and importance of our nation’s Dreamers who were brought to this country as children and are American in every way except on paper. DACA was the right thing for our families and for our economy. It recognized that if you have grown up here, gone to school here, laid roots here, and contributed here, then you deserve to stay here. It meant that young people no longer had to live in fear every day that their lives could be upended at a moment’s notice. And today, in the midst of a global pandemic, finding that stability is more important than ever. This is especially true for our nation’s 700,000 Dreamers – including tens of thousands of Asian Pacific Islanders – who have done everything right, but face being uprooted from their communities simply because they were born somewhere else. This uncertainty is particularly cruel for the over 200,000 Dreamers currently working on the front lines to protect and serve our nation during the COVID-19 crisis as health care professionals, educators, restaurant workers, and more. But eight years after the establishment of the DACA program, we still have no permanent solution to prevent the deportation of these Dreamers, even though the House overwhelmingly passed H.R. 6, the Dream and Promise Act, last year. I hope that the Supreme Court makes the right decision to ensure these Americans can stay in the only country they have ever called home. I also urge the Senate to take swift action to pass the Dream and Promise Act to provide permanent protections for our nation’s Dreamers.”

Congresswoman Grace Meng (NY-06), CAPAC First Vice Chair:

“Today marks the eighth anniversary of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. The establishment of DACA protected over 800,000 young people, including over 16,000 young Asian immigrants, allowing them to come out of the shadows to study and work in the only country they have ever known. The Trump Administration’s repeal of DACA on September 5th, 2017 was devastating to so many who have contributed to the prosperity of America. Today, even as the future of the program remains in limbo, over 200,000 DACA recipients are working on the frontlines of the COVID-19 crisis to protect the lives and safety of Americans. Federal court orders have reinstated the renewal of DACA requests, but this is only a temporary fix. We must continue to push for commonsense and compassionate immigration reform and reject any harmful policies advanced by the current administration.”

Congressman Ted Lieu (CA-33), Whip:

“Eight years ago, President Obama established the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Program, which provided opportunity and hope for many young immigrants living in fear of deportation. President Trump’s decision to terminate DACA was not just cruel but also poor policy. And now, as we await a Supreme Court decision on the future of DACA and so many lives hang in limbo, it is more important than ever that we pass the American Dream and Promise Act to provide permanent protections for DACA recipients. America is a nation of immigrants and they are a part of our country’s success. As an immigrant, I am grateful for the many opportunities this country has given me and am committed to ensuring those same opportunities for others.”

CAPAC Executive Board Members

Congressman Gil Cisneros (CA-39):

“Eight years ago, President Obama’s announcement of DACA brought 800,000 young immigrants out of shadows. They are our doctors, students, service members, coworkers, and loved ones contributing to every part of our society. Especially throughout this pandemic, DREAMers have been working on the frontlines to keep our communities safe and healthy. They deserve to live in the country they love, and the only home they’ve known, without fear of deportation. Last year, I was proud to join the House in voting to pass the historic H.R. 6, the Dream and Promise Act, but our work is far from over. Today and every day, I will continue to work to fix our country’s immigration system and fight for DREAMers and all our immigrant communities in the 39th District.”

Congressman Jimmy Gomez (CA-34):

“Over the past eight years, the DACA program has given over 800,000 young people a chance to pursue their dreams without fear of deportation. From attending college and starting small businesses to serving on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic as first responders and essential workers, these DREAMers play a critical role in supporting and uplifting communities across the United States. Today, on the eight-year anniversary of this landmark program, let us take the time to appreciate the countless contributions DREAMers have made and continue working together to create solutions that support and protect them, including a pathway to citizenship.”

Congressman Ro Khanna (CA-17):

“Partisan politics should never get in the way of creating more pathways for immigrants to join the fight for the American dream. Eight years this month after the DACA program was announced, it’s clear that its legacy will have a tremendous impact on our country for years to come. These young DREAMers are some of our best minds, brightest leaders, and most committed activists. We should be celebrating their achievements, not jeopardizing their safety in this country. Proud to stand with my CAPAC colleagues in continuing to work toward a permanent legislative solution for DREAMers.” 

Congresswoman Doris Matsui (CA-06):

“Eight years ago, young Dreamers across our country were granted temporary protections that provided them a path to pursue their dreams free from the fear of deportation. Now adults, Dreamers have only added to the richness and prosperity of communities across our country. Today, these inspiring individuals face an uncertain future after the Trump Administration’s callous termination of the program. Regardless, the moral duty of Congress is to continue to work to protect DACA recipients and other immigrants. The Senate must follow the House’s lead by passing the Dream and Promise Act, not just for the prosperity of our country, but in recognition of the dignity, rights, and contributions of our Dreamers.”

CAPAC Associate Board Members

Senator Jacky Rosen (D-NV):

“The DACA program has transformed the lives of hundreds of thousands of immigrants and their families in Nevada and across our nation by allowing them to attend college, open businesses, serve in the military, and so much more. Dreamers are our neighbors, teachers, first responders, and health care workers. On this 8th anniversary of DACA, it is more important than ever that we renew our commitment to continue fighting for a permanent solution that includes a pathway to citizenship for Dreamers.”

Congresswoman Katherine Clark (MA-05):

“The DACA program provided nearly 800,000 young people a pathway to live and work in the country they rightfully call home. They have gone on to start local businesses in our communities, serve in our military, and work in many of the essential jobs and services that we all rely on more than ever during the coronavirus pandemic. Today, as we commemorate its 8th anniversary, we also acknowledge the fear and uncertainty our Dreamers are feeling right now because of the Trump administration’s heartless attack on the DACA program. With a looming Supreme Court decision on the fate of DACA, it is imperative that Congress pass the Dream and Promise Act immediately to give DACA recipients the safety and certainty that they and their families deserve. We must work urgently now to protect the American Dream and the Dreamers who are living it.”

Congresswoman Susie Lee (NV-03):

“There are 13,000 DACA recipients who call Nevada and America home—and for most, it’s the only home they’ve ever known. It’s their right to fully contribute to the country they love without fear of detention or deportation. Eight years ago, DACA gave thousands that opportunity, which is why we must do everything in our power to stand up to attacks against the DACA program, and guarantee Dreamers a path to study, work, and live in the country they call home.”

Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney (NY-12):

“DACA helped breathe life into the American dream for a generation of people who came to the United States as children seeking a better future. Dreamers are our neighbors, friends, classmates who have grown up here in the United States and for too long, lived in the shadows. We must not let that happen again. We need comprehensive immigration reform. This starts by reversing President Trump’s September 2017 decision to end DACA. The House passed H.R. 6, the American Dream and Promise Act more than a year ago, the Senate needs to do the same and permanently end the fear and uncertainty for Dreamers.”

Congresswoman Linda Sánchez (CA-38):
“Dreamers continue to represent the best of our country; many working on the frontlines of the pandemic, fighting to keep their communities safe. They are doctors, nurses, teachers, students, servicemembers, and most importantly – they are a part of our American fabric. To play politics with their lives is shameful. It’s time that our laws reflect what a majority of Americans support – allowing DACA recipients to continue living and working in the country they call home. As we await a decision from the Supreme Court, know that I will never stop fighting for the Dream and Promise Act to become law. Dreamers are here to stay.”

Congressman Adam Smith (WA-09):

“Eight years ago, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program was created to provide a pathway for young un-documented immigrants to learn, work, and get much-needed deportation relief. By terminating the program, President Trump put thousands of young people and their families at risk of being deported from the only home they have ever known. The Trump Administration’s continued attacks on immigrant communities goes against everything we should stand for as a nation. I remain committed to defending Dreamers and DACA recipients and advocating for a pathway to citizenship, and I will continue to fight for them and all of our immigrant communities.”