NEW YORK, NY - On Friday, Congress is expected to pass an omnibus spending bill that does not include a DREAM Act, but includes $1.5 billion for the border wall, funding for 40,500 detention beds, and funding to hire 65 DHS investigation agents, 100 immigration judges and 60 ICE attorneys. In response to this version of a long-term spending bill, Steven Choi, Executive Director of the New York Immigration Coalition, issued the following statement:
“This budget is a slap in the face to the immigrant community. While Congress congratulates itself, this budget funds the deportation machine, criminalizes immigrants, and neglects the 800,000 hardworking Dreamers still stuck in limbo. America will not be greater or safer by undermining our immigrant communities. We need Congress to get back to work and put a DREAM Act on the table.”
Protection for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) has become a key aspect of negotiations. A “clean” Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act would provide protection for the 800,000 DACA recipients (Dreamers) without additional funding for border security and immigration enforcement.
Six months ago, President Trump rescinded the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), and designated March 5th, 2018 to begin phasing out the program. Since then more than 15,000 individuals have lost their DACA status at a rate of 122 people per day.
Then on Monday, February 26th, the Supreme Court of the United States rejected the Trump administration’s petition to bypass the usual Court of Appeals process, maintaining the current district court injunction to continue to accept renewal applications for DACA. The district court injunction allows anyone who has DACA at any time to either renew or re-apply to the program. The injunction is not a permanent solution and should not deter efforts to pass a clean DREAM Act.
Over fifty percent of DACA recipients under the age of 25 are on track to receive a bachelor’s degree, and in total, over ninety percent of DACA recipients are employed. In the next 10 years, the country stands to lose $460.3 billion in GDP if DACA is ended without a legislative solution. In New York alone, there are 115,000 Dream Act-eligible individuals in the workforce who would add a projected $1.75 billion to the state GDP annually over ten years.
The NYIC urges everyone with DACA or other immigration legal concerns to consult an attorney and send in materials via mail with a method that is trackable. Individuals can get a legal consultation by calling the Office of New Americans (ONA) hotline, 1-800-566-7636.