This week, the Trump Administration made the decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Established in 2012 under President Obama, the program was a way for young adults who came to the U.S. before the age of 16 to come out of the shadows and obtain a valid driver’s license, enroll in college or legally secure a job.
Terminating this program goes against our values as a country and will have a disastrous impact on our economy. Nearly 800,000 DREAMers, including 17,000 in Colorado, have benefitted from this program and are employed or getting an education. The loss of this program equates to a loss of roughly 700,000 jobs and billions in economic output. These individuals are our friends, neighbors, classmates and colleagues, and they contribute to and enrich our society every day.
President Obama signed the Executive Order authorizing the DACA program largely because Congress wasn’t acting on comprehensive immigration reform. Congress now has six months to find a legislative fix for these DREAMers.
I am a cosponsor of H.R. 3591, the American Hope Act and H.R. 3440, the DREAM Act to help address this issue. The DREAM Act provides permanent protection for DREAMers and allows them to remain in the U.S. legally to work, join the military and/or attend school. The Hope Act provides a path to U.S. citizenship by allowing DACA beneficiaries and other immigrant youth to apply for conditional permanent resident status and ultimately obtain full lawful permanent resident status if they meet certain requirements.
I call on Republican leadership in both the House and Senate to quickly address this issue and bring legislation to the floor for a vote.