ADEA Washington Update

ADEA Reaffirms Commitment to DACA Recipients

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Nearly two months after President Trump decided to terminate Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), ADEA, along with over 80 other groups, has signed onto a letter calling on Congress to enact legislation to protect the hundreds of thousands of undocumented people brought to the United States as children and raised as Americans, but who live with the threat of deportation.

Former President Obama set up DACA in 2012 through an executive action permitted undocumented aliens who came to the United States before they were 16 to defer deportation and apply for a handful of official documents, including a U.S. work permit, a Social Security number and a driver’s license.

Although President Trump rescinded the program in September, he put the ball in Congress’ court, asking lawmakers to come up with a permanent fix that would allow the nearly 800,000 DACA recipients to remain in the United States after the program formally terminates on March 5, 2018.

“Colleges and universities have seen these remarkable people up close, in our classrooms and as our colleagues and friends,” reads the letter written under the aegis of the Protect Dreamers Higher Education Coalition, run by the American Council on Education. “Despite the challenges they face, they have made incredible contributions to our country and its economy and security. They should continue to be able to do so.”

“Children brought to the United States at a young age did not have a choice in the matter and are today Americans in every way but immigration status,” the letter says. “It remains in America’s best interest to enable them to use their knowledge, skills and energy to continue to make the strongest possible contribution to our country.”

A fact sheet from the Coalition notes that 350,000 people with DACA status are in school or pursuing higher education.

The Coalition’s missive follows a similar Sept. 20 letter signed by more than 800 business and industry leaders. That letter noted that without the country’s roughly 800,000 DACA recipients, “our economy would lose $460.3 billion from the national GDP and $24.6 billion in Social Security and Medicare tax contributions.”

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