The Latin American Association supports the continuation of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), a 2012 deportation deferral program for eligible young people who were brought to the U.S. as children. The House of Representatives recently voted to defund this initiative even though it has opened doors for many young people who have lived most of their lives in the U.S.
Under DACA, certain young people who were brought to the United States as children are eligible for work authorization, a Social Security number and a driver’s license. Over the past two years, the Latin American Association’s Immigration Services Department has played a key role in securing DACA for many young people in Georgia. We have seen how DACA has positively impacted the lives of those who have had it granted.
Based on our long history of service to Latino immigrants and our ongoing work with DACA clients, we believe that:
DACA provides young people with a reasonable, if limited, path of meaningful opportunity. Hundreds of thousands of bright young people who wish to help build America’s future can now get jobs, drive to work and school, go to college, contribute to the economy and help their families. While DACA can never take the place of comprehensive immigration reform, it gives hope to a rising generation of young people who grew up in the U.S. and can now begin to move forward with making their dreams a reality.
Comprehensive immigration reform is needed. DACA provides young people with opportunity, but leaves them in legal limbo. Only comprehensive reform can resolve their situation and the broader immigration challenges our nation faces. There is broad bipartisan agreement for immigration reform. Studies show that comprehensive immigration reform will boost the U.S. economy and will provide the guidance and processes we need to meet the immigration challenges we face as a nation.
DACA does not pose a risk to border security. DACA has recently been cited in connection with the border crisis as a risk to border security. This is simply not true. The unaccompanied youth from Central America have been fleeing unimaginable violence and forced recruitment by gangs, among other things. They are not coming to the United States for DACA, a program for which they would not qualify.
How you can help
Call your federal elected officials and urge them to protect Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.