Statement on the Department of Homeland Security’s Changes to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals

By USCRI April 13, 2020

Arlington, Va—The U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants (USCRI) expresses its grave concern about the decision made by Acting Secretary of Homeland Security (DHS) Chad F. Wolf to defy the Supreme Court’s recent ruling on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). This ruling ordered the Administration to fully restore DACA, allowing some 700,000 immigrants who came to the here as children to live and work in the U.S. legally.

Following the Court’s decision, Mr. Wolf announced that the DHS will make the following immediate changes to DACA:

  • Reject all initial requests for DACA and associated applications for Employment Authorization Documents;
  • Reject new and pending requests for advanced parole absent exceptional circumstances; and,
  • Limit the period of renewed deferred action granted pursuant to the DACA policy after the issuance of this memorandum to one year.

These changes will effectually rescind the program and make it easier for the Administration to deport DACA recipients in the future. The egregiousness of DHS in defying the Court’s decision is an affront to our humanitarian values, our faith in the will of the people, and our constitutional order.

The young people under DACA, called “Dreamers,” were brought to the U.S. as children and exercised no agency in this decision. Their admission to the DACA program is based on a strict criteria: you must have resided in the U.S. continuously since June 15, 2007; had come to the U.S. before your 16th birthday; are physically present in the U.S.; and are in school, have graduated from high school in the U.S., or have a GED; and have no criminal record.

It is also clear that the American people not only support the continuance of DACA but a path to citizenship for DACA recipients. Polling consistently shows that three-fourths of American voters nationwide and across party lines are emphatically in support of citizenship for Dreamers.

The Dreamers know no other country than the U.S. and the psychosocial effect of their deportation to a foreign country can be irreparable. So, too, is the effect on our national identity.

“DHS’s decision is at odds with America’s rule of the law, the will of the American people, and our basic humanity. The Dreamers were brought to the U.S. by their families as young children and grew up as neighbors and friends of our children. They are now taking their place as the next generation to build on America’s potential,” said Eskinder Negash, USCRI’s President and CEO.

“Deporting the young people who know no other home than the one they grew up in can be seen as nothing short of malice,” he added.

USCRI calls upon DHS to do the right thing—respect the rule of law, the will of the American people and the humanity of these young people.

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