EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) – Advocates on Monday called for permanent legal status for individuals brought into the country without authorization when they were children. This, after a federal judge last Friday ruled former President Obama exceeded his authority in 2012 when he created the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA.
“We need to stop relying on temporary immigration fixes. Congress must seize the moment and all opportunities to finally provide a pathway to legalization for millions of undocumented immigrants,” said U.S. Rep. Bob Melendez, D-New Jersey.
U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen sided with a group of states suing to end DACA, saying it violated the Administrative Procedure Act and barring new enrollments. The judge said the 650,000 so-called “Dreamers” already enrolled in the program would remain exempt from deportation for now.
“This move by the courts only underscores the urgent need for a permanent solution with a pathway to citizenship,” said Lydia Guzman, vice-chair of the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) National Immigration Committee. “’Dreamers’ are the fabric of this nation and they deserve better.”
The advocates are calling for the Biden administration and the Democratic majority in Congress to pass the American Dream and Promise Act, which provides a path to citizenship for “Dreamers,” as well as overall legalization for more than 11 million migrants.
“The lives of young immigrants who are American in all but paperwork are under severe legal threat. It’s only a matter of time before the conservative judiciary ends executive actions such as DACA,” said Frank Sharry, executive director of America’s Voice. “This is a break-glass moment. We need a long-overdue breakthrough, concrete results – a piece of legislation signed into law.”
The group is citing a Center for American Progress study stating that legalizing “Dreamers,” holders of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) visas, farmworkers and essential workers who are undocumented will add $1.5 trillion to the U.S. economy over the next 10 years.
The advocates are calling for including the legalization provisions during the budget reconciliation process, or else that the Democrats get rid of the filibuster rule in the Senate that requires a 60-vote majority.
Several “Dreamers” have taken to social media to express their frustration with the ruling.
“DACA was never enough. This is why I struggle planning,” wrote Jose Caceres, a “Dreamer” originally from El Salvador. “When I’m asked what’s my five-year plan, I can’t even (expletive deleted) plan for two. I’m exhausted.”
“Every lawmaker who used our stories as part of their campaign platform must deliver on their promise and support a reconciliation package that includes a pathway to citizenship,” tweeted Claudia Yoli Ferras, executive director of MOVE Texas and a “Dreamer.” “We’re watching… and organizing.”
“Literally, all we want to do is work hard, give back, stay with our families and live in this country that we call home. We need citizenship for all because DACA will never be enough,” stated Rico Ocampo, a Dreamer from Las Vegas.