NEW YORK (June 15th, 2017) — Today, immigrant youth and advocates rallied together at City Hall with New York City Council-member Carlos Menchaca and the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs to mark the fifth anniversary of the announcement of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), which provides protection from deportation to immigrant youth. The scores of immigrant New Yorkers and allies demanded DACA’s continuation and committed to raising awareness among DACA recipients about steps they should take to avoid the expiration of their status.
After the November elections, given then-candidate Trump’s pledge to repeal DACA, immigrant youth DACA recipients have re-entered the world of uncertainty and fear. The Trump administration has not yet taken action on DACA overall, but ICE has targeted DACA recipients for detention and deportation in numerous high-profile cases around the country. This is part of a broader pattern of activity to vilify and attack immigrants and their families around the country under the Trump administration.
DACA is an executive order enacted by President Obama in 2012 to protect undocumented youth from deportation. Additionally, DACA recipients can apply for a Social Security number and employment authorization. Based on research conducted by the Pew Research Center, more than 750,000 youth have benefited from DACA. Through DACA, many have been able to obtain a driver’s license, access to higher education, and the opportunity to travel to their countries of origin.
Zuleima Dominguez, Youth Power Project member at Make the Road New York and DACA recipient, said, “DACA has provided me with countless opportunities to financially support myself, my education, and my family. Prior to being a DACA recipient, I was unable to apply for scholarships, work legally, or even apply for a state I.D. However, after receiving DACA, I began to work legally at a homeless shelter, pursued a college education, and was able to receive a few scholarships to help pay my tuition. DACA changed my life for the better. DACA is a privilege that I don’t take for granted and nobody should.”
Councilmember Carlos Menchaca said, “Since 2012, young DREAMers have lived without fear of senseless detention and deportation, they’ve advanced at school, secured employment, and safely traveled to visit their families. Here in New York, we’re doing everything we can to ensure DREAMers thrive and fulfill their potential. The federal government must keep its promise not to target DREAMers for immigration enforcement. The DACA program must be continued and DACA recipients should have the help they need to maintain their protected immigration status.”
Kavita Pawria-Sanchez, Assistant Commissioner of the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs, said: “Over 30,000 New Yorkers rely on DACA to continue their studies, work in a multitude of professions, serve in the armed forces, and contribute to their communities without the threat of deportation from the country they call home. As we reach the fifth anniversary of DACA, we must not forget that this is a time of deep uncertainty and anxiety for many immigrant families in New York and around the nation. Today we celebrate all Dreamers and pledge to continue the fight to keep the DACA program alive. We strongly urge the President to explicitly commit to continue DACA so that the estimated 85,000 New Yorkers who already have DACA or are eligible to apply can have peace of mind. DACA recipients and those considering applying for DACA should consult a qualified immigration attorney to understand their options, including other forms of immigration relief.”
Angie Kim, community organizer with the MinKwon Center for Community Action, said: “MinKwon Center for Community Action is here today to stress the importance of DACA renewal, and the need for continued relief from deportation for our Undocumented youth. DACA has helped nearly 800,000 undocumented young adults–known as DREAMers–come out of the shadows, obtain valid driver’s licenses and legally secure jobs. We hold the Trump administration accountable to do the right thing, the humane thing by extending the program for the remainder of his presidency.”
Advocates also underscored that DACA recipients must be aware of the expiration date for their employment authorization to prevent them from falling out of status. By doing so and taking action to ensure their status is up to date, they can ensure those individuals’ protection.
Ambassador Diego Gómez Pickering, Consul General of Mexico in New York, mentioned that Mexico is the country that has the most DACA requests approved nation-wide with 1,240,512. He invites Mexican nationals to visit the Window of Immigration Affairs and Citizenship at the Mexican Consulate, where New Yorkers of Mexican origin can receive a legal screening and if you want to proceed with filing a DACA application an immigration lawyer may help for free.