DACA Phase-Out Leaves Thousands in Legal Limbo

Today Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced President Donald Trump’s decision to overturn, with a six-month delay, former President Barack Obama’s 2012 executive action on immigration, in the process terminating the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy that has served as a source of hope for undocumented youth and young adults who were brought here by their families before the age of 16.

We believe President Trump’s decision to dismantle DACA is both cruel and irresponsible, forcing approximately 800,000 undocumented youth and young adults who are contributing members of American society to live in fear and legal limbo.

DACA is a lifeline to young immigrants who were brought here by their families, shielding them from deportation as well as providing them with a 2-year, renewable work authorization. It gives hope to an entire generation of immigrants, helping them succeed in school and become leaders in communities across America.

The policy also generated clear benefits that extended far beyond the undocumented youth and young adults themselves. DACA recipients play an integral role in the country’s workforce: They teach in our schools, work in our hospitals and serve in our military.

Furthermore, ending DACA will result in a cumulative GDP loss of $433.4 billion over the next 10 years, according to a report by the Center for American Progress. The Immigrant Legal Resource Center also estimates it will cost U.S. employers $3.4 billion to recruit, hire and train new employees to replace now former DACA recipients who are without work authorization.

At Erie Neighborhood House, we resolve to continue standing in solidarity with all who feel threatened by the Trump administration’s immigration policies.

We are calling on members of Congress to pass the bipartisan Dream Act in order to reestablish protection from deportation and work authorization for soon-to-be former DACA recipients as a critical first step.

However, we cannot truly support DACAmented youth without supporting their families.  We will continue to push lawmakers for comprehensive immigration reform that provides legal status and a path to citizenship for the approximately 12 million individuals living in the country without documentation, because we firmly believe America is stronger when it values the contributions of immigrants young and old.

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