|Call to Action: Our Voices Can Make The Difference And Push Congress Into Action.|
For more than 15 years, the United States Congress has debated how to reform immigration in our nation. Numerous bills have been proposed over the years to provide a pathway to citizenship, including the Dreamers Act first proposed in 2007. Some of the proposals passed the House of Representative or the United State Senate, but nothing passed both.
This inaction drove then, President Barack Obama to sign the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals executive order, also known as DACA, to protect the youth in our nation.
The application to qualify for DACA is rigorous. Youth must demonstrate both their commitment and personal value to the United States and their community. Every applicant undergoes a detailed background check. Not everyone who applies is accepted. Recipients receive no financial benefits or promises of citizenship. DACA members do receive a two-year work permit that grants them temporary legal status and deferment from deportation. With that, DACA members have been able to get driver’s licenses, advanced education degrees, employment, and participate in their communities. Today, approximately 800,000 youth and young adults are DACA members.
President Obama hoped that DACA would be a temporary fix and that Congress would ultimately codify into law his executive action. Unfortunately, that never happened. Now, President Donald Trump is vowing to rescind DACA in the next 6 months.
YWCA Madison stands with DACA and the Dreamers. These are the youth of America who have fought to be in our nation, who have come out of the shadows to pursue their dreams because the federal government convinced them it was safe to do so. It is cruel to now punish Dreamers: The federal government has their names and knows where they live, and now the federal government is going to rescind its promise of legal protection and instead threaten deportation. Hundreds of thousands of members of our community will return to a life of fear, in the shadows of our nation.
There is also an economic cost to eliminating DACA. In addition to the impact on Dreamers and their families, The Center for American Progress estimates that the United States would lose approximately $460 billion in Gross Domestic Product over the next 10 years without DACA. Almost 700,000 Dreamers could lose their jobs, costing businesses $3.4 billion in turnover costs.
But there is hope. Congress now has 6 months to act—to do what it had promised to do, what it has tried to do, but what it has failed to do so far: Enact true immigration reform that protects Dreamers and their families.
You can help! We urge you to contact your representatives in Congress and demand they support DACA. One way to do that is to text “RESIST” to 50409. This allows you to send a personalized message directly to your senators. You can also call your legislators at (202) 224-3121. You can some find suggested messages here.
Please share this with your networks. Senators and Representatives across political parties have condemned President Trump’s decision. Our voices can make the difference and push Congress into action.
This Saturday, September 9, 2017, Dreamers will be leading a march in Madison from 12 to 3 at Library Mall on the UW Madison campus. Join YWCA Madison in standing up and taking to the streets in solidarity with the Dreamers and DACA members.
YWCA Madison's Advocacy Team
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