TUCSON – Congressman Raul M. Grijalva (AZ-03) released the following statement after the termination of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which was announced by Attorney General Jeff Sessions. The program, established under President Obama in 2012, has shielded more than 800,000 young individuals from deportation and granted them the opportunity to remain in the U.S. to work or go to school. A recent Center for American Progress assessment found that ending the DACA program would remove at least $433.4 billion from the U.S. GDP cumulatively over a decade. In Arizona alone, there are nearly 28,000 DACA recipients. Ending DACA would cost Arizona more than $1.3 billion in annual GDP.
“President Trump once claimed that under his administration, DREAMers would be treated ‘with heart,” said Rep. Grijalva. “Yet nothing is more heartless and callous than taking away the sense of belonging and security for nearly one million young people in our country or using them as a bargaining chip for his obsession over a border wall.
“The American people have demonstrated their overwhelming support for DACA recipients and rightly so. DREAMers are young individuals who have sought higher education, careers, served in our military and rooted themselves in our country. They contribute to our economy, our social fabric, and represent the best of our values. To now force them to return to a state of fear is not only immoral, but it runs afoul of our immigrant heritage as a nation.
“All lawmakers must speak out against Trump and a handful of Republican state attorneys’ attempts to do away with a program that places the lives of 800,000 individuals and their families in limbo. Congress needs to act urgently to pass legislation that permanently protects current and future DREAMers.”
Rep. Grijalva joined 116 Members of the Democratic Caucus in introducing the American Hope Act.
The American Hope Act would:
• Allow DACA beneficiaries and other DREAMers to apply for CPR status.
• Allow those granted CPR status to obtain LPR status (i.e., a “green card”) after 3 years if they stay out of trouble. Time spent with DACA would count toward the required 3 years with CPR status.
• Provide a 5-year path to U.S. citizenship. Time spent in CPR status would count toward the general 5-year period needed for permanent residents to become eligible for U.S. citizenship.
• Allow minors to apply for CPR status through a legal guardian or counsel.
• Improve college affordability for undocumented youth and other immigrants by repealing rules that limit their access to in-state tuition and college loans.
• Treat all DREAMers brought to the United States as young children the same, regardless of educational level, military service, or work history.