Today we are deeply troubled by President Trump’s decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. We are fearful for what this action will mean for nearly 800,000 youth and young adults, including many in Mennonite and Brethren in Christ congregations. The DACA program has provided protection from deportation and work permits to those who were brought to the U.S. as children – many as babies and toddlers who do not even remember the countries in which they were born. Thanks to DACA, thousands have been able to attend college, work legally, and obtain driver’s licenses. Many now have children of their own.
Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) provides documentation services for immigrants, including assistance in applying for and renewing DACA status. A recent article tells the story of Dmarcos, who has been working with MCC East Coast immigration attorney Rachel Diaz since he was 15 when he was eligible to apply for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). Now, because of his DACA status, Dmarcos is going to university this fall. A good student all of his life, without DACA he would not have had the chance to attend university.
The president’s decision makes it even more imperative that Congress immediately pass the Dream Act to enshrine DACA protections into law for the hundreds of thousands who will soon be at risk of deportation, lost jobs, and separation from their families. Passage of the Dream Act should not be tied to border security or increased immigration enforcement measures. Protecting Dreamers must not come at the cost of additional anti-immigrant measures that serve only to terrorize communities and needlessly separate families.