Forum Statement on DACA – Call on Congress to Pass the DREAM Act

Latino Policy Forum Statement
The White House Rescinds DACA

Call on Congress to Pass the DREAM Act!

CHICAGO, IL – Today the Trump administration formally announced its decision to rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program within the next six months. Doing so immediately upends the lives and livelihoods of nearly 800,000 young people, including 42,000-plus Illinoisans, and millions more family members. The Latino Policy Forum unequivocally opposes this decision as irredeemably flawed public policy, morally bankrupt political leadership, and shortsighted economic thinking.

In response to today’s announcement, we call on Congress to make the DREAM Act (S. 1615) an immediate legislative priority. The DREAM Act, co-sponsored by Illinois’ senior Senator Richard Durbin, would allow current DACA recipients and others who may be DACA eligible to remain in the country immediately while also providing an eventual pathway to citizenship.

The DACA program was implemented in August 2012 and has provided recipients with a renewable two-year reprieve from deportation and the incalculable peace of mind that comes with being able to live their lives without the fear of deportation. In exchange, these individuals voluntarily identified themselves to the federal government and trusted in the federal government to treat them with humanity and fairness while a long-term, legislative solution could be agreed upon.

“Not only is the rescission of DACA unconscionable and cruel, it is simply bad public policy,” said Sylvia Puente, executive director of the Forum. “After months of seesawing between explicitly threatening the programs demise as a presidential candidate and recently making vague promises to treat DACA recipients with ‘heart,’ the President has once again capitulated to the openly xenophobic wing of his base of support.”

The Forum also rejects two false narratives that have been discussed in relation to DACA. We unequivocally reject the:

  1. Continued criminalization of immigrant communities and communities of color. Attorney General Sessions’ remarks today baselessly invoked ‘lawlessness’ and ‘terrorism’ to justify the decision to rescind DACA. Such language is also falsely applied to other communities of color to justify unjust policies that disproportionately criminalize immigrants across the country.
  2. Divide and conquer strategy that continually pits immigrants (undocumented or not) versus U.S.-born workers, particularly African Americans. Veiled comments from Trump surrogates and the Attorney General’s remarks today that rescinding DACA will “further the lives of people struggling economically” only serve to fuel resentment of immigrants and their presence in this country.

As we debate the future of DACA and possible legislation in the coming months we also call for a political and social dialogue on the push factors and root causes of migration in sending countries.

The Latino Policy Forum and allies across the State of Illinois and the country will continue to push for humane policies that recognize the gifts and contributions made to our society by our immigrant sisters and brothers. For more information and updates on the future of DACA, please click here to visit the Forum’s Impacto page.