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Outrage over DACA’s Termination

By Jennie L. Ilustre

Asian American advocacy groups are unanimously condemning President Trump’s executive action on September 5, ending the 2012 Deferred Action for Children Arrivals (DACA) program signed by President Obama. They also strongly urged the 115th U.S. Congress to pass the 2017 DREAM Act, or a similar legislation protecting DACA.

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Remarked OCA National Vice President of Public Affairs Vicki Shu: “We are outraged that President Trump eliminated the DACA program. Despite bipartisan and overwhelming American support, President Trump still condemned over 800,000 DREAMers to deportation.”

 

“In light of the President’s failure, Congress must swiftly pass the DREAM Act or similar legislation,” OCA’s Shu stressed. “There needs to be policies that lay out a clear path to citizenship, and separate local law enforcement from federal immigration enforcement. OCA will work with our community partners to fight to protect undocumented communities.”

 

South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT) Executive Director Suman Raghunathan pointed out:  “America’s values are founded on the ideal that all people are created equal and deserve justice. The President’s decision to terminate DACA puts 800,000 individuals at risk of deportation from the only country they’ve ever called home.”

 

“The Trump administration will phase out DACA after a six-month delay, punting responsibility to Congress to craft legislation to protect Dreamers. Passing the DREAM Act 2017 is an important first step, but what the nation needs is comprehensive immigration reform,” she stressed.

 

She added: “The CEOs of Apple, Google and Facebook and many other business leaders have all staunchly supported DACA and opposed its termination, citing their need for talented workers in a direct rebuttal to claims that DACA has hurt the American economy.”

 

Starting in 2012, DACA granted children and minors, who were brought to the U.S. without authorization, protection from deportation and also work permits. The view was, having been raised and educated in the U.S., they are practically Americans. DACA was renewable every two years until it was recently rescinded.

 

Current DACA beneficiaries–some 800,000 undocumented, including about 130,000 Asian Americans–now face grave threats of deportation, although they will not be affected until March 5, 2018. Trump tossed the problem to Congress, which has six months to protect DACA recipients through legislation.

 

Broken Promise

Migrant Heritage Commission (MHC) Executive Director Arnedo S. Valera, a lawyer and immigrant rights advocate, lamented that President Trump had reneged on his promise to treat the DACA recipients “with heart.” He added: “President Trump’s action will also lead to the breaking up of families, which is counter to America’s values and basic sense of human decency. Our immigration policy should be about economic opportunities, family unity, equality, immigrant justice and humanity.”

 

He also called on the U.S. Congress to “permanently resolve the DACA issue by swiftly passing the bipartisan 2017 DREAM Act.” He also renewed his call for comprehensive immigration reform, underscoring legislation over executive action, which by its nature is temporary.

 

The 2017 DREAM Act was introduced last July 20 in the 115th U.S. Congress by Sen. Lindsey Graham (R, South Carolina) and Sen. Dick Durbin (D, Illinois.) Its passage will be an uphill climb, however, say observers who note the rising xenophobia among some segments of society, as well as the failure of the current Congress to pass any major legislation.

 

Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance, AFL-CIO (APALA) Executive Director Alvina Yeh declared: “The administration’s agenda – which already so clearly drips of racism, hate, and xenophobia – not only challenges the fabric of a country that prides itself on diversity and opportunity, but also threatens the very existence of ours- and allied- communities. APALA will not tolerate the mass criminalization of people of color nor will we be idle as our family, friends, and co-workers come under immediate threat.”

 

Full text of the news releases issued on September 5, 2017 follows.

 

SAALT Condemns President Trump’s Decision to Terminate DACA

 

South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT), a national civil rights and racial justice organization, condemns President Trump’s decision to terminate the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, the latest in a litany of this administration’s anti-immigrant policies. This morning Attorney General Sessions announced the destructive change, citing DACA’s executive overreach as the main source of critique, reflecting this administration’s amnesia and its unconstitutional actions to date, not the least of which include the “Muslim Ban.”

 

“America’s values are founded on the ideal that all people are created equal and deserve justice. The President’s decision to terminate DACA puts 800,000 individuals at risk of deportation from the only country they’ve ever called home. Ending DACA is the latest evidence of this administration’s utter lack of commitment to our nation’s founding values of equality and fairness,” stated Suman Raghunathan, Executive Director of SAALT.  “Our current patchwork of immigration policies and programs is broken, and we demand Congress does its job to craft a commonsense immigration process that creates a roadmap to citizenship for aspiring new Americans. This is the only way to align our immigration laws with the values Americans hold dear.”

 

The Trump administration will phase out DACA after a six-month delay, punting responsibility to Congress to craft legislation to protect Dreamers. Passing the DREAM Act 2017 is an important first step, but what the nation needs is comprehensive immigration reform.

 

Over 27,000 Asian Americans, including 5,500 Indians and Pakistanis, have already received DACA. An additional estimated 17,000 individuals from India and 6,000 Pakistan respectively are eligible for DACA, placing India in the top ten countries for DACA eligibility.  With the termination of DACA, these individuals could face deportation at the discretion of the administration.

 

The CEOs of Apple, Google and Facebook and many other business leaders have all staunchly supported DACA and opposed its termination, citing their need for talented workers in a direct rebuttal to claims that DACA has hurt the American economy.

 

When asked about DACA in February the President stated, “We are going to deal with DACA with heart.”  Yet today the Attorney General called the termination of DACA a compassionate decision, revealing how tone deaf and inconsistent this administration is to its past statements and American values. The administration has announced several permutations of the “Muslim Ban”; continually called for the construction of a wall on the southern border of the United States; has rolled back Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA); supported the RAISE Act that seeks to slash immigration in half within a decade; and encouraged, endorsed, and emboldened bigotry, white supremacy, and hatred toward immigrants, Muslims, and people of color across the nation. That is not the type of ‘heart’ this nation needs.

 

Since its inception, this administration has demonstrated a crucial lack of heart, compassion, values, and respect for the law when it comes to DACA and immigration. It is time for Congress to step up and pass comprehensive immigration reform, and for all elected and appointed officials to defend our communities through words and actions.  We are here to stay, we have the same rights to America as anyone else, and we are not going away.

 

   South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT) is a national, nonpartisan, non-profit organization that elevates the voices and perspectives of South Asian individuals and organizations to build a more just and inclusive society in the United States. SAALT is the coordinating entity of the National Coalition of South Asian Organizations (NCSO), a network of 59 organizations that serve, organize, and advocate on behalf of the South Asian community across the country.

 

OCA Outraged at President Trump’s Termination of DACA

 

Washington, D.C. – OCA – Asian Pacific American Advocates is outraged at President Trump’s decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Program.

 

Though the program has been rescinded, current beneficiaries of the DACA program will not be affected until March 5, 2018. Within these six months, it will be up to Congress to pass new legislation regarding the future of these DREAMers and other immigrants. However, no new applications to DACA will be accepted.

 

“We are outraged that President Trump eliminated the DACA program. Despite bipartisan and overwhelming American support, President Trump still condemned over 100,000 DREAMers to deportation. In light of the President’s failure, Congress must swiftly pass the DREAM Act or similar legislation. There needs to be policies that lay out a clear path to citizenship, and separate local law enforcement from federal immigration enforcement. OCA will work with our community partners to fight to protect undocumented communities,” said Vicki Shu, OCA National Vice President of Public Affairs.

 

OCA–Asian Pacific American Advocates is a national organization of community advocates dedicated to the social, political, and economic well-being of Asian American Pacific Islanders (AAPIs.)

 

APALA Condemns Killing of DACA

 

Washington, D.C. – The Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance, AFL-CIO (APALA) condemns the administration’s termination of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), a program that has helped hundreds of thousands of young immigrants to live, study, and work in the U.S. since its implementation. The end of DACA puts its 800,000 recipients, including over 30,000 Asian Americans, at risk for deportation.

 

Monica Thammarath, APALA National President, stated: “Today, we hold our immigrant community close. Know we will protect, defend, and fight with you – our immigrant brothers, sisters, and siblings – from raids, detention, and deportation. We are committed as ever to do everything in our power to stop this mass deportation agenda, and to make sure white supremacists and their agenda have no place in the White House or at any level of government now and in the future. If we are to truly move towards comprehensive immigration reform, mass deportation is not the answer. We call on our elected officials to find lasting legislative solutions that protect and strengthen sanctuary cities, defund and demilitarize our borders and our communities, and ensure that all immigrants live free from fear of detention or deportation.”

 

“Killing DACA destroys the dreams, lives, and families of youth immigrants throughout this country,” commented Kim Geron, APALA 1st Vice President. “It is a despicable move, part of a white supremacist agenda that aims to oppress and criminalize workers, immigrants, and young people of color. Choking off education and job opportunities will mean hundreds of thousands of young people and their families will be deprived of badly needed economic gains and snuff out the dreams of our immigrant youth.”

 

APALA Executive Director Alvina Yeh added: “The administration’s agenda – which already so clearly drips of racism, hate, and xenophobia – not only challenges the fabric of a country that prides itself on diversity and opportunity, but also threatens the very existence of ours- and allied- communities. APALA will not tolerate the mass criminalization of people of color nor will we be idle as our family, friends, and co-workers come under immediate threat.”

 

Johanna Puno Hester, APALA 2nd Vice President, concluded: “Today is a sad day for DACA-mented young folks and for the entire immigrant community throughout this country. The administration has made it clear that immigrants are not wanted despite the invaluable contributions our community makes to this country every single day. Still, we remain resolute in our fight for dignity and respect for all immigrants, and we fight with a spirit of resistance and say, ‘We are #HereToStay!’”

 

Migrant Heritage Commission Denounces

DACA’s Rescission as ‘Un-American’

And Calls on Congress to Pass DACA Legislation

 

Washington D.C. – The Migrant Heritage Commission (MHC), a nonprofit national organization dedicated to protecting immigrant rights, today denounced President Trump’s termination of the Deferred Action for Children Arrivals (DACA) program, calling it “un-American” for betraying the cherished principles and ideals of this great nation.

 

Rev. Atty. Arnedo S. Valera, MHC Executive Director, also called on the U.S. Congress to permanently resolve the DACA issue by swiftly passing the bipartisan 2017 DREAM Act. The legislation was introduced last July 20 in the 115th U.S. Congress by Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican from South Carolina, and Senator Dick Durbin, Democrat from Illinois.

 

Under today’s executive action, current DACA beneficiaries will not be affected until March 5, 2018. Congress has six months to pass legislation that would protect close to 800,000 DACA recipients. “Now that it is up to Congress to pass legislation, we must be united in our action to advocate for the passage of a Comprehensive Immigration Reform to fix our nation’s broken immigration system once and for all,” Valera stressed.

 

Valera said President Trump has reneged on his promise to treat the DACA recipients with a heart. “DACA recipients contribute to the nation’s progress,” he noted, quoting a CNN opinion piece on June 16 which reported “DACA grantees are attending college, becoming entrepreneurs and fully integrating into society.”

 

He added: “President Trump’s action will also lead to the breaking up of families, which is counter to America’s values and basic sense of human decency. Our immigration policy should be about economic opportunities, family unity, equality, immigrant justice and humanity. America was founded over 200 years ago as a Nation of Immigrants. We are, and will always be a Nation of Immigrants.”

 

NaFFAA Will Continue Fighting for DACA Recipients

 

Washington, D.C.–Today, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced that the Trump Administration is ending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, but with a 6-month delay. Created under the Obama Administration in 2012, DACA has allowed nearly 5,000 young Filipinos – along with 800,000 other individuals – to receive work permits and to be protected from deportation.

 

Following the Administration’s announcement, the National Federation of Filipino American Associations (NaFFAA) issued the following statements:

 

“The security and opportunity afforded to DACA recipients is a true representation of the American Dream,” said NaFFAA National Chairman Brendan Flores. “Eliminating DACA protections unjustly rips away the ladder of opportunity for hard-working people, divides families, and pushes immigrant communities back into the shadows. NaFFAA stands in solidarity with diverse community organizations fighting for the nearly 800,000 young individuals – including nearly 5,000 Filipinos – who have benefited from DACA so that they can reach their full potential.”

 

NaFFAA Executive Director Jason Tengco added, “Today’s decision to rescind DACA is a major setback to the 800,000 young individuals who have benefited from the program’s protections. DACA recipients are American in every sense of the way, except for their paperwork, and we should allow them to thrive and build lives here in the United States. Now is the time to take our fight to Capitol Hill, and NaFFAA renews its call for Congress to pass the DREAM Act and comprehensive immigration reform that unites families, rather than divides them.”

 

The National Federation of Filipino American Associations (NaFFAA) is a non-profit, non-partisan organization. Established in 1997, NaFFAA (www.naffaa.org) has been the standard bearer for promoting the welfare and well-being of the 4 million Filipinos and Filipino Americans throughout the United States. NaFFAA’s vision is to serve as the voice of all Filipinos and Filipino Americans by uniting, engaging, and empowering diverse individuals and community organizations through leadership development, civic engagement, and national advocacy.

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