Livestream of press conference can be found here
Pictures can be found here
Houston, TX—More than 40 immigrant youth and allies, representing a diverse coalition of immigrants rights, membership-led, education, legal, state and federal advocacy organizations, convened in Houston yesterday to launch the Home is Here coalition for the next defense of the DACA program and all undocumented immigrants.
The coalition was pivotal in safeguarding the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program at the Supreme Court in 2020. This relaunch is necessary as the latest attempts to end DACA advance, currently pursuing a 5th Circuit review of the lower court’s order dated September 13, 2023.
The vibrant city of Houston, the largest in Texas, served as the backdrop for this gathering, symbolizing the integral contributions of immigrants to their communities. In contrast to the rich tapestry of immigrant stories woven into the city’s fabric, MAGA politicians in Texas persist in their efforts to marginalize and push immigrants into the shadows at the federal and state levels. The lawsuits endangering DACA were initiated by the Texas Governor and Texas Attorney General. Most recently, during the Texas Legislature’s third and fourth special sessions, those same MAGA politicians pushed forth legislation aimed at criminalizing and targeting immigrants.
The Home is Here coalition stands resolute in the face of these challenges, recommitting itself to protecting immigrant youth and all undocumented immigrants.
Greisa Martinez Rosas, Executive Director of United We Dream, said:
“We’re facing a second case that could go up to the Supreme Court again, and we will find ways to win again. We know that DACA is not enough and that we are fighting for much more. In this next iteration of our fight, we will need political leaders who are courageous enough to do what is right and fight unapologetically against attacks on all fronts. We need President Biden and his administration to match their words with action, by protecting people and ensuring all immigrants are treated with dignity and respect.”
Rico Ocampo, Organizing Director of Make the Road Nevada, said:
“DACA gave me a future, an opportunity to provide for my three children and watch them grow up. Sadly, I cannot guarantee how many more nights I can tuck them into bed because DACA remains under imminent threat. This is an indescribable pain. Immigrants are here to stay, and we’ll continue to fight to build communities where we are welcomed with dignity and respect. That starts with us fighting for DACA, immigrant youth, and the 11 million undocumented immigrants still living in limbo.”
Jose Arnulfo Cabrera, Deputy Director of Federal Policy and Campaign of CHIRLA, said:
“Since being at CHIRLA, I have seen how states like California are passing policies that allow DACA recipients and undocumented immigrants to contribute on a large scale. Yet, we know there is still a lot more we can do for undocumented immigrants and DACA recipients. My DACA showed me what is possible when my community stands up and fights back. DACA allowed me to follow in the footsteps of leaders in 2012 to now be at CHIRLA, where I am fighting for permanent solutions for my undocumented community.”
Esther Sung, Legal Director of Justice Action Center, said:
“As a lawyer and a Houstonian, and as a Texan, it makes me angry that my state is wasting precious resources suing to end a program that hasn’t just been a lifeline for hundreds of thousands of DACA recipients, but millions of individuals across the country. The Supreme Court must do what is within the interest of the nation and our communities by upholding this program in its entirety. The lives of hundreds of thousands of people are in the balance.”
Glo Choi, Community Organizer of Hana Center, an affiliate of NAKASEC, said:
“1 in every 7 Asian Americans are undocumented. Growing up, I didn’t know that, I didn’t know that I was 1 in every 7, I thought I was just one. It’s really hard to exist when you’re alone and you’re isolated and don’t think you have a community. I am so grateful to have found my people right here. Our campaign is not just to fight for DACA, DACA is the very beginning of how far we want to go. We want citizenship for all 11 million. We want to live well. We don’t just want papers, we want to thrive.”
Judith Ortiz, Immigrant youth without DACA from United We Dream, said:
“Just like there’s immigrants and advocates in Austin today fighting against these hateful and fascist bills during the 4th special session, we stand here in Houston to say that those politicians will not win. I know that Texas is big enough for all of my dreams and those of other young undocumented people like me, the dreams of my sister Karen, and the dreams of my undocumented parents. Texas is big enough to welcome new migrants and to care for those of us who have lived here for decades.”