On September 5th, 2017, we received the anticipated, but hurtful news that the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (better known as DACA) program would be rescinded.

The announcement came early that morning through United States Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Within his brief statement, Sessions not only informed Americans of the programs end; he also managed to reduce all DACA recipients to “illegal aliens.” As he championed the work that the 45th president has been doing to make the immigration process in this country “lawful,” he spoke of the economic and safety betterment for the American people- which only includes “lawful immigrant and native born alike.”

The small window of time that was provided for some to renew their DACA work permit ends today. Only 145,000 of the almost 800,000 national recipients qualified to file for a renewal within the month that was given to do so through our current administration. Of those 145,000, about 106,000 applied for renewal as of October 2nd. The 45th president decided to officially end DACA 6 months after the statement was made- on March 5, 2018. This, he tweets, allows Congress to “do their job” and “legalize DACA.”

We are now facing the end of the protection that was secured for young immigrant adults who needed an avenue to lead regular lives in the country that most of them call home. So, what now?

In a hasty manner to protect those who were covered under DACA, our elected officials have introduced legislation in both the House of Representatives and the Senate. Below are brief descriptions of some of those acts and what they would offer to applicants.

The Dream Act of 2017

  • Strongest version of the Dream Act (compared to previous versions)
  • Three-tier pathway to citizenship for those who qualify
    • Begin with conditional permanent residency, then lead to lawful permanent residency, and finally a step for naturalization
  • Includes those who arrived to the U.S. before the age of 18 and who have been here for a least 4 years
  • Includes DACA recipients, TPS recipients, and people who have final orders of removal
  • Allows a pathway through employment, not just attendance in higher education or enlistment in the armed forces

The Recognizing America’s Children (RAC) Act

  • Similar to the DREAM Act, but has more restrictions to it
  • Includes those who arrived to the U.S. before the age of 16 and who have been here for at least 5 years.
  • Under this legislation, if any individual stops attending school or stops working, their conditional permanent resident status could be revoked

The Succeed Act

  • 15-year path to citizenship for its beneficiaries
  • Includes passing an extensive background check and a medical exam
  • Under this legislation, individuals would NOT be able to file an immigration petition for anyone in their family in the future. (This is because of the xenophobic ideology of “chain migration,” which the 45th president has recently tweeted about.)

As an organization, we stand in support of the DREAM Act of 2017. Not only that, we are working towards a clean DREAM Act. What does this mean? We will continue working to see this legislation pass as it is. We do not want add-ins that would cause more detentions, more deportations, more families torn apart, and more fear in our immigrant communities. As people of faith, we must show our moral conviction towards standing for our fellow community members in ways that push a reform in our immigration system forward. We must let our elected officials know that we will not accept any legislation that does not take into consideration the community as whole.

If you are interested in getting more involved with immigration reform, contact me at: alejandra@actionn.org

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