Washington, DC – In what may have been Gen. John Kelly’s first conversation with an undocumented person since being nominated to serve as the next Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, Yenimar Cortes from UWD Affiliate Connecticut Students for a Dream, this week explained to him how the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA) benefits her and her family and made it clear that his decision on whether to save the program is urgent. SEE VIDEO HERE.
Cortes said: “Before getting to D.C. my sister asked me why I was going and I had to be honest with her — ‘I’m going because our parents and I could be deported. I need to be there to speak up for us.’ I was nervous talking to Gen. Kelly but the reality is that he has the power to protect DACA and prevent the deportations of my sister and I who have DACA and my parents who are undocumented and have no protection today. My family and I are here to stay, we know we belong and I will give it my all to empower more young people to fight to preserve our dignity and our way of life.”
Greisa Martinez, Advocacy Director of United We Dream said, “It is time for General Kelly to develop a perspective on DACA and choose to preserve the program. The DACA program works – it has enabled me, my sister and almost a million other young people to thrive and help their families. Indecision on DACA is not an option and breaking the trust that immigrant families have placed in the Department of Homeland Security by deporting DACA beneficiaries or their families would be a horrific miscarriage of justice. As DHS Secretary, Kelly would have a choice to make – will he deport me, my sisters, mom, and millions just like us, or will he preserve DACA and protect our families?”
At Kelly’s confirmation hearing, newly elected California Senator Kamala Harris asked General Kelly pointed questions about the future of the DACA program where he said that he hasn’t studied the issue closely but conceptually did not believe that immigrant youth were priorities for deportation.