Kemi Bello, ILRC Communications Manager

January 18, 2017

Kemi Bello, kbello [at] ilrc.org, (415) 321-8568
Pat Zapor, pzapor [at] cliniclegal.org, (301) 565-4830

On the Cusp of Inauguration Day, Nearly 900 Organizations Urge President-elect Trump to Continue DACA
Letter Cites Bipartisan Support, Public Safety Benefits, and Potential Loss of $30 Billion in Economic Contributions

WASHINGTON —Nearly 900 religious, civil rights, ethnic and immigrant rights organizations who work on behalf of immigrants and their families are urging President-elect Trump to protect the more than 740,000 individuals who currently hold Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, known as DACA.

In a letter submitted to the President-elect this morning, 863 national, state and local organizations said that DACA “has become one of our nation’s most successful immigration policy initiatives...fostering economic growth and strengthening national security.” The letter asked President-elect Trump to continue DACA, despite his promises to immediately end all of President Obama’s executive actions on immigration upon taking office.

There has historically been bipartisan support for protection from deportation for the population that benefits under DACA. In June 2012, President Obama announced DACA as an initiative to provide work permits and relief from deportation to young adults and children who arrived in the United States before the age of 16. Applicants must submit to background checks, pay a fee, and meet certain educational requirements. Besides enabling them to increasingly contribute to the economy, DACA has made it easier for those immigrants to attend college and to join the military. However, DACA remains limited in that it offers no pathway to permanent legal immigration status or citizenship.

Bipartisan and bicameral legislation known as the BRIDGE Act would provisionally protect those who currently hold DACA or are eligible for it. The letter states that though DACA should continue regardless of whether the BRIDGE Act becomes law, the bill’s introduction “signals the deep commitment that our nation has to these individuals.”

The letter notes that 87% of DACA recipients are currently employed by U.S. businesses. The letter cites a report by the Immigrant Legal Resource Center that ending DACA would result in an estimated $3.4 billion in turnover costs to their employers and the loss of $24.6 billion in contributions to Social Security and Medicare over a decade.

Among the signers of the letter were: the American Civil Liberties Union, American Federation of Teachers, American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, American Immigration Lawyers Association, Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc., Children’s Defense Fund, the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles, Immigrant Legal Resource Center, Jewish Social Services of Madison, National Center for Transgender Equality, National Immigrant Justice Center, National Council of La Raza, and others.

Read the letter here.