Saving the DACA Program
This week I was deeply saddened when President Trump announced that he would be ending the DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) program. The program ensures that those who came to the United States as children – on average, at age 6 – are able to work and live here without fear of deportation.
DACA recipients are contributing members of our society who have no criminal record, had no input on the decision to enter the United States, and have known only this country as home. They work at leading American companies, have started small businesses, and have served our country in the military and in public service. Without DACA, these young Americans will be abandoned by our country.
The day of the President’s decision I met with several young people who may now face deportation. I was impressed by their courage in coming forward to tell their stories and challenge the President’s reckless action. It was also impossible to leave without a deep appreciation for the anxiety they face with their futures in the United States now very much in doubt.
Yeimi Hernandez of Freehold, 17, left Mexico when she was 1 year old and now attends Freehold High School. She said "I do want to become something in life, because that's why I'm here. I wish one day to become an immigration attorney, and I do not want this dream to be shattered because DACA apparently is going to be killed." Alma Benavides, a 23 year old from Perth Amboy added, “DACA has opened doors for me that I never knew existed. The elimination of this executive order without an appropriate replacement would not only be devastating for the DREAMers but to the country as a whole."
These New Jerseyans embody the best America has to offer, and I will continue to stand by their side as we work together to protect their DACA status.
The 22,000 DACA recipients now facing deportation do not fit the stereotype that has been portrayed by the Trump administration. They work, go to school and contribute greatly to our communities. A recent study found that New Jersey could lose $1.5 billion in Gross Domestic Product because of the taxes that DACA recipients pay.
I am confident that we can do better than ripping families apart and deporting immigrants who only know America as their home. That is why I will be working in Congress to save the DACA program.
If you have a moment, please respond to this email or contact my office to share your thoughts on DACA and our immigration system. It is my job to represent you and I want to make sure that your views are taken into account while I’m fighting on your behalf.
Congressman Frank Pallone