Real Solutions to Real Crises. Now Is Our Time to Act.

Immigration

Marshall Fitz, Managing Director, Immigration

Congress has an opportunity to pass a desperately needed—and humane—Dream and Promise Act. Now is the time for decisive action.

Every day, we are reminded of this administration’s efforts to transform our immigration system into a cold and inhumane enforcement engine. The onslaught began during President Trump’s first week in office with a series of executive orders, including the infamous Muslim Ban and his strategy to deport millions of undocumented immigrants settled in America.

But among the scores of extreme, restrictive changes to immigration policy since then, these three stand out as especially cruel and counterproductive: rescinding the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program; terminating Temporary Protected Status (TPS) designations for nationals from six countries; and ending Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) protections for Liberian nationals.

They are Americans in all but their paperwork.

The administration’s decision to terminate legal status and protections provided by these programs has created serious anxiety for more than a million aspiring Americans. The prospect of imminent removal and permanent separation from their families exacts a heavy psychological toll on the entire family, including U.S. citizen children who fear their parents will be ripped away from their lives. By definition these are individuals who are lawfully residing in and contributing to the United States. DACA recipients obtained legal status after meeting certain educational and residence conditions and undergoing rigorous background checks. TPS and DED holders passed the same background checks and were provided legal protection and authorized to remain and work in the United States because of unstable and dangerous conditions in their home countries.

Fortunately, federal judges have granted limited injunctions stalling the immediate termination of DACA and TPS, but those protected by injunctions have only a temporary reprieve, not permanent protection. Many young immigrants and TPS holders fall outside the scope of these injunctions. Almost all are people who have lived here for many years—in many cases decades—and have U.S. citizen spouses or children. In their schools, jobs and communities, they contribute mightily to our collective success. They are Americans in all but their paperwork.

What purpose does it serve to strip legal status from our neighbors, families, friends, and colleagues and subject them to deportation?

What purpose does it serve to strip legal status from our neighbors, families, friends, and colleagues and subject them to deportation?

Candidate Trump stoked fears on a false narrative of immigrant criminality and a promise to rid us of what he misleadingly claimed were hordes of bad hombres. But the decision to terminate DACA, TPS, and DED made unmistakably clear that all immigrants, not just criminals, are the targets of this administration’s immigration policies. By putting our heritage as a nation of immigrants in the cross-hairs, President Trump has thrown down the gauntlet in a fight for our national identity.

José Rafael is one of four siblings with DACA status. The family moved to the United States from Mexico when José Rafael was five years old.

Now, finally, we have a response to this challenge from a newly elected House majority. Today, more than 200 House Democrats are introducing the Dream and Promise Act to provide permanent protection for eligible undocumented youth and DACA recipients, current Temporary Protected Status holders, and a small number of Deferred Enforced Departure recipients. Enabling DACA, TPS, and DED recipients to continue contributing to our communities is the only responsible course of action for America. They live in our communities. Their children go to school with our children. They are a vital part of our workforce, contributing to our society as teachers, engineers, nurses, and small business owners. If provided with a permanent solution, many of them would like to serve in the military. Deporting them from America would cost our economy an estimated $624 billion over 10 years.

It is expected that the Dream and Promise Act will pass the Democratic House of Representatives and then move to the Republican Senate. The conventional wisdom is that the bill will go there to die because Senate Majority Leader McConnell, who’s up for reelection in 2020, won’t allow it to reach the Senate floor.

Deporting them from America would cost our economy an estimated $624 billion over 10 years.

But we cannot—and will not—succumb to apathy and allow conventional political wisdom to define how we act and what we demand from our elected officials. Millions of people will suffer the consequences of congressional inaction, but this is not only about those directly impacted. This is about all of us and what we are willing to allow our government to do in our name. Stripping our fellow Americans of their status and ripping them from our communities must be a red line.

Lady Liberty’s beacon has dimmed over the last two years, but the light of safety, security, and opportunity cannot be extinguished. That is why people continue to come—and fight to remain—here. They, like all Americans, want to believe that the American dream is still alive. It is on us to prove that it is.

Call Your Representatives in Congress

Tell them to co-sponsor and vote Yes on The Dream and Promise Act of 2019

1 (877) 790 7557