On September 5, 2017, U.S. Attorney General Sessions announced that as of March 5, 2018, the Trump Administration would formally terminate the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or “DACA” program which President Obama had initiated and the NAACP supported in June of 2012. The program allowed some individuals who entered the country without documentation as minors to receive a renewable two-year period of deferred action from deportation and eligibility for a work permit. As of 2017, approximately 800,000 individuals—referred to as “DREAMers”, named for legislation known as the DREAM Act—were enrolled in the program created by DACA. Soon after the program was announced in 2012, it was estimated that as many as 1.7 million people already living in the U.S. might qualify. DREAMers originate from all parts of the world including Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, Central and South America, and Europe, and currently live in every state in our nation.
The DREAM Act has once again been introduced with strong bipartisan support in the U.S. Senate (S. 1615, by Senators Lindsey Graham, SC, and Richard Durbin, IL) and in the US House (H.R. 3440, by Congresswomen Lucille Roybal-Allard, CA, and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, FL) in the 115th Congress. The DREAM Act would allow these young people to earn lawful permanent residence and eventually American citizenship if they: are longtime residents who came to the U.S. as children; graduate from high school or obtain a GED; pursue higher education, work lawfully for at least three years, or serve in the military; pass security and law enforcement background checks and pay a reasonable application fee; demonstrate proficiency in the English language and a knowledge of United States history; and have not committed a felony or other serious crimes and do not pose a threat to our country.
Please contact your elected representatives this week and let them know of your strong support for DREAMers and the DREAM Act. For more information about the plight of the DREAMers and to find out how you can become an effective advocate, please see the attached Action Alert.