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For Immediate Release

 |
Jose M.

ICYMI: United We Dream, Immigrant Youth & Allies Hold Press Call In Response to Biden Administration’s Final Rule on DACA Which Fails To Expand Eligibility

Contact: press@unitedwedream.org

Washington, D.C. — Yesterday, United We Dream (UWD) along with other members of the Home Is Here coalition held a press call in response to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) releasing a final rule for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program which will be published August 30 and go into effect October 31. The press call attendees were: Juliana Macedo do Nascimento, DACA recipient and Deputy Director of Federal Advocacy for United We Dream, Karen Tumlin, Founder and Director of Justice Action Center, Carlos Vargas, Supervising Immigration Navigator of Make the Road New York. 

To listen to the entire press call, click here

From UWD Senior Political and Communications Director, Bruna Sollod, the call moderator: 

“I am currently protected by DACA like many others on this call and I represent the millions of young people with and without DACA. …Right now, we are seeing teenagers and young adults be denied DACA and therefore, access to higher education, jobs, and what they need to thrive. We are seeing DACA recipients themselves to potentially be out of work while inflation has made everyday needs inaccessible for so many. So that’s hundreds of thousands of health care workers, teachers, and service workers that keep our communities alive potentially being removed from the workforce if DACA were to die. And that’s why you’ll hear the speakers today be very clear by what we’re demanding from the Biden administration. This issue is not going to be solved with tired solutions from the past. We need bold protective actions. You cannot put a fire out, with a bucket of water.” 

From DACA recipient and Deputy Director of Federal Advocacy for United We Dream, Juliana Macedo do Nascimento: 

“This final DACA rule changes nothing for current DACA recipients, they will continue following the same process they use to renew. The final rule does not reopen initial DACA applications. This means the hundreds of thousands of eligible people who were never able to apply for DACA will not be eligible to receive relief, including people who have applied and had their applications frozen by the Hanen ruling in Texas and will continue to be in limbo. This final rule does not change DACA eligibility, it actually fails to expand the program to the hundreds of thousands of undocumented people graduating from high school who never qualified for the program in the first place. Unfortunately, we don’t believe this will impact the current litigation. The Fifth Circuit and the Supreme Court have shown themselves to be anti-immigrant and willing to take away our rights. 

Any day now, we could get a ruling from the Fifth Circuit court of appeals that could impact the future of the program. Our opponents aren’t shy about their intentions to detain and deport immigrants and we need the Biden administration to take bold protective actions to meet the urgency of this moment. President Biden campaigned on strengthening and fortifying DACA but from our perspective as United We Dream, the organization with the largest membership of directly impacted people, the final DACA rule fails to strengthen the program by not expanding it to include more people.” 

From the Founder and Executive Director of Justice Action Center, Karen Tumlin:

“Yesterday’s rule essentially takes the DACA program from 2012 and turns it into a fossil. That is because the rule essentially codifies the 2012 memo without expanding dates for eligibility even though we are rapidly approaching the moment by which no new applicant could apply even if it’s regulation were to take effect without legal challenge. This was unfortunate and also unnecessary. The Biden administration had an opportunity to build a more inclusive policy yet they chose not to. I want to outline what some of this regulation does and does not do as well as explain what the regulation means for the current legal challenges against DACA for the Fifth Circuit court. 

The regulation will not take effect until October 31 and that is only if there is not a successful legal challenge before that time. Until then, we need to be clear that DACA renewals will continue under the parameters set by the 2012 Napoletano memo. But because the regulation did not change in any of the forms required for DACA, we also believe that applications that have already been submitted whether first time applications that are frozen due to lower court injunction or renewal application are still valid. I want to underscore that the United States at this time will not grant first time applications due to a court injunction from Texas.

This regulation is a tool that the Department of Justice hopes will support its legal descents of DACA in the court. But as many of you recall, a federal district court in Texas last summer ruled against DACA and declared the federal government lack the statutory authority to enact a program such as DACA. That appeal and that case was heard by the Fifth Circuit last month in New Orleans and we are waiting for a decision on that appeal… This means that all the proverbial legal eggs are now in the Fifth Circuit basket, in terms of whether the Fifth Circuit decides that DACA is legal or not. But I want to stop and be crystal clear, what is at stake is not a legal egg or just a program called DACA. What is at stake are the livelihoods are the 1 million DACA recipients and those waiting to become them. That is what we’re fighting for, the people of DACA, not for the program of DACA.” 

Supervising Immigration Navigator of Make the Road New York, Carlos Vargas:

“I want to highlight how this administration failed many of our DACA recipients like myself. It failed to include an eligibility, something as simple as changing the age requirements. The continuous precedence that could have opened DACA to other folks just to set precedent. And also it could have expanded the benefits such as a work permit  or a work referral for another year, two years, three or four years, making it easier to renew the fees and the advance parole. I think this administration failed to recognize that they did not take a bold move. In three USCIS press release in bold it says, ‘DACA is not a lawful status, it is something temporary’. DACA has never been a solution to our communities and people like myself. It’s always been a band-aid and I think this administration has failed to really take bold action and it’s really to show that since day one of DACA’s announcement, we have to push forward our elected officials and this administration for something more bolder, more permanent because as this rule reflects, many of us cannot lead our lives in two year intervals on the hands of elected officials and this administration to give us something. We have to fight for it, just as we did before DACA was announced.”

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United We Dream is the largest immigrant youth-led organization in the nation, a powerful network made up of over 800,000 members, over 100 local groups and a reach of over 5 million per month. UWD’s vision is to build a multi-racial, multi-ethnic movement of young people who organize and advocate at the local and national levels for the dignity and justice of immigrants and communities of color in the United States.