Washington, DC – Today, news broke that the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security wrote a letter to Members of Congress reiterating the Department’s intent of only using confidential information provided in applications for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA) for the purpose of that program.
To date, the two-year, renewable program has protected three quarters of a million young people from deportation and has provided a level of financial security and peace of mind for immigrant families. At a cost of nearly $500 per application every two years, immigrant youth and families have paid hundreds of millions in fees for this program. Young people and families, assured that their information would only be used for the purposes of DACA, shared extensive details about their personal history and identity with the government.
The letter states, in part: “For decades, even dating back before DACA, it has been the long-standing and consistent practice of DHS (and its predecessor INS) to use information submitted by people seeking deferred action or other benefits for the limited purpose of adjudicating their requests, and not for immigration enforcement purposes…” The letter also states, “We believe these representations made by the U.S. government, upon which DACA applicants most assuredly relied, must continue to be honored.”
Greisa Martinez, Advocacy Director of United We Dream said,
“When my sister and I, applied for DACA and paid our fees, we did it with the understanding that our information was secure. About 1.4 million first time and renewal applications have been submitted, each with a trust that the government would hold up their commitment to keep our personal information safe.
DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson just reiterated that the Department has a responsibility to adhere to its practice of only using the information we shared for its agreed upon purpose.
Incoming DHS Secretary John Kelley must not betray that trust and use our information, provided to DHS in good faith – to terrorize households like mine and deport me, my sister and my mom, who is undocumented. Dallas is our home and we are #HereToStay.”