Announcement Places 22,000 New Jersey Dreamers in Jeopardy
NEWARK — The Trump administration today announced its plan to terminate the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Program. DACA has served as a lifeline for nearly 800,000 young immigrants, or "Dreamers," who came to this country as children and know the United States as their only home.
The ACLU-NJ and its allies call on New Jersey's congressional delegation to pass legislation protecting Dreamers' ability to live, work, and study here free from fear of unnecessary deportation.
About 22,000 New Jerseyans rely on their DACA status to live, study, and work here.
The following is a statement from ACLU-NJ Executive Director Amol Sinha, reacting to the White House announcement rescinding the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program:
"Five years ago, the federal government changed the lives of young immigrants with this offer: As long as you pass a criminal background check, you can live, study, and work here. Hundreds of thousands of young people came out of the shadows and accepted the government's proposition in good faith, and they have worked hard to build their lives here.
"Today, the government and President Trump went back on their word, throwing the lives and futures of 800,000 Dreamers and their families into disarray. The president has wavered between promising to help Dreamers plan stable futures here and threatening to subject them to deportation – and all the while, each change in course pulls people's lives along with it.
"By announcing it will end DACA, this administration has gratuitously injected uncertainty into thousands of workplaces and communities across America. The proposal to wait six months before axing DACA will not provide cover for a decision that's simply wrong. It only adds more chaos to an uncertain situation and asks people to put their lives in limbo for even longer.
"In New Jersey alone, 22,000 of our neighbors have given back to our country, in ways both concrete and innumerable, because of the DACA program. They are our doctors, soldiers, and students – our neighbors, family, and friends. Our state stands to lose some of the $66 million in tax revenue DACA-eligible New Jerseyans contribute to our state each year – along with the $1.6 billion they contribute to New Jersey's GDP – because of this callous political move. But the lost revenue pales in comparison to the lost futures of longtime New Jerseyans who call America their home.
"Now, the fate of 800,000 young adults who know this country as their home lies in the hands of Congress. Lawmakers must decide if they're on the side of the Dreamers who make up our country's foundation and embody its best ideals, or if they're on the side of the ugly forces that seek to destabilize people's lives and rend apart families by terminating DACA.
"This is a hard, painful day for the immigrant community and for America as a whole. We will continue to fight. Years of courage, sacrifices, and organizing led to the DACA program in 2012. Nothing will deter these Americans and our allies, both in New Jersey and across the country, from continuing to fight for their futures and pursue their American dreams. We will all stand together and hold our elected officials accountable."