In early September, the Trump administration rescinded the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, with a 6-month delay for enforcement. Here is how you can make sure that Dreamers are protected from deportation.
This page will continue to be updated with additional resources for lobbying on the Dream Act of 2017.
FCNL’s Hannah Evans spoke on a national conference call on September 7 to give an update on DACA. Listen to a recording:
Urge Congress to pass the Dream Act to prevent young immigrants from being deported.
What is DACA?
DACA was put in place by President Obama in 2012. The program allowed almost 800,000 immigrants who grew up in this country undocumented to apply to work legally in the United States free from fear of deportation. In order to apply, DACA recipients had to go through a background check, fit certain qualifications, pay around $500 in application fees, and stay in compliance with the program. Recipients have to renew their status every two years and repay the application fee.
DACA recipients are living in all 50 states. 70% were 10 years old or younger when they came to the United States - so they know no other country but this one. All have been in the U.S. for at least 10 years, 23% have a U.S. citizen child, and 71% have a U.S. citizen spouse, sibling or child. 91% of recipients are legally employed and paying taxes. 45% of are still in school, with 72% pursuing a bachelor’s degree or higher. The average age of DACA recipients is 25.
We have 6 months to organize Congress to pass legislation that protects DACA recipients from deportation. We have to start now.
What is the legislation?
There are three different bills introduced that will protect Dreamers from deportation. We are advocating for the Dream Act, because it provides a path to citizenship for the widest array of young immigrants, including DACA recipients, and provides a permanent solution. We are asking for members of Congress to commit to passing Dream Act as soon as possible.
The BRIDGE Act (H.R. 496/S. 128) is bipartisan and bicameral, it would basically extend DACA as is, but make it a congressional program for 3 years. It’s not a permanent solution. The Recognizing America’s Children Act (RAC) Act (H.R. 1468) is only sponsored by Republicans; it would provide a pathway to citizenship for certain immigrants. It would affect a smaller number of immigrants who call this country home.
The Dream Act of 2017 (H.R. 3440/S. 1615) is bipartisan and bicameral; it provides a shorter pathway to citizenship for a wider array of immigrants. (See a more in depth comparison.) This is the bill that Dreamers have asked Congress to work on, and we need every member of Congress to hear from you that they should co-sponsor the Dream Act of 2017.
How can Congress move forward?
It is hard to pass any legislation as a stand-alone bill – so there are a couple of ways that this could go forward that would be irregular to the normal process that a bill normally takes. One option is to have this bill attached to legislation that is considered “must-pass”. The other is to go through an irregular procedural method to force a clean vote on the floor.
What we do not want is for the Dream Act to be attached to a bill that ramps up border security, interior enforcement, or makes it harder or impossible for other immigrants to navigate the system. This is a real concern, since Congress still has to figure out how they are going to fund the government for the next fiscal year. We must continue to urge Congress not to increase funding for deportation, detention, or border militarization in appropriations. Protections for Dreamers cannot be paired with policies that would put their parents or siblings at risk.
Keep up the pressure on a very simple message: pass a clean Dream Act without attaching it to any increase to deportation, detention, or border militarization.
You can take action every day. Tweet at your member of Congress, call your members of Congress in DC and in district, set up meetings with your member of Congress or their staff in district, write about what DACA has meant to you and your community for a local newspaper, host events with Dreamers and invite your member of Congress to attend them, and keep doing this until every single member of Congress has heard from us.
We need 218 members of Congress to vote for this in the house, and 60 in the Senate. That means that even if every single Democrat were to vote for the Dream Act (and do not assume they will), we need 24 Republicans in the House and 12 Republicans in the Senate to get this through. See what your member of Congress has said about DACA.
DACA recipients can find resources at weareheretostay.org – if your status expires between now and March 5th, you have until October 5th to apply for a renewal which is not a lot of time.
InformedImmigrant.com is a hub of resources, local service providers, know your rights information and beyond for immigrants and advocates alike.
SanctuaryNotDeportation.org provides resources for communities of faith who may be looking for additional ways to publicly stand with immigrant communities and offer sanctuary for those in need of immediate protection from deportation.