“DACA recipients have lived in fear since last November when a man with an anti-immigrant, racist agenda was elected as president. Despite false promises earlier this summer that Dreamers would continue to be protected, Trump has ended one of the most important immigration policies for our communities.”
That was the statement from Sung Yeon Choimorrow, the executive director of the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum (NAPAWF), in response to the president’s decision on Sept. 5 to dismantle the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program that provides over 800,000 young undocumented immigrants with work permits and deportation relief.
Members of the Washington congressional delegation, including Senators Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell, and Representatives Pramila Jayapal, Adam Smith, Rick Larsen, Suzan DelBene,
Denny Heck, and Derek Kilmer, wrote a letter to Trump, calling his decision “an unconscionable mistake.” They urged Trump to reconsider his decision and make sure that Dreamers’ application information is not used for immigration enforcement.
“Elimination of this critical program will cost Washington state an estimated $1.1 billion in annual gross domestic product (GDP). Nationally, the cruel end of this program will cost $460.3 billion in GDP over the next 10 years,” the letter read.
The Northwest Immigrant Rights Project estimates that here in Washington, 40,000 youth stand to be directly impacted. On Sept. 5, Seattle Mayor Ed Murray announced that he is committing $150,000 of new funds to community organizations to help with outreach and legal assistance for individuals who already have DACA, so they may know their rights and properly file for renewal.
The Washington Attorney General has already taken action. On Sept. 6, Bob Ferguson filed a multi-state lawsuit co-led by Washington, New York and Massachusetts, seeking to halt Trump’s decision to end DACA. The lawsuit alleges that the President’s decision not only causes immediate harm to hundreds of thousands nationwide, it also directly injures colleges and universities, employers and state economies by removing the protections that allowed Dreamers to study and work legally.
Trump campaigned on a promise to crack down on illegal immigration, saying he would “immediately terminate” DACA if elected. But since taking office, he had voiced more sympathy toward Dreamers. At a news conference in February, Trump said, “The DACA situation is a very very, it’s a very difficult thing for me because you know, I love these kids … I love kids. I have kids and grandkids and I find it very, very hard doing what the law says exactly to do.”
Many Republicans have said President Obama overstepped his authority by creating DACA. Whether or not that’s true, DACA recipients should not have to suffer or be punished for the sins of their fathers and mothers who chose to break the law and smuggle them into the country illegally.
Write to your lawmakers and urge them to take up and pass legislation to help DACA beneficiaries once and for all. ■