Knowing Your Government: If DACA Makes You Angry Here Is What You Can Do

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) is an American immigration policy founded by the Obama administration in June 2012. DACA allows certain illegal immigrants who entered the country as minors, to receive a renewable two-year period of deferred action from deportation and eligibility for a work permit.

The policy was created after acknowledgment that these students had been largely raised in the United States, and was seen as a way to remove immigration enforcement attention from “low priority” individuals with good behavior. The illegal immigrant student population was rapidly increasing; approximately 65,000 illegal immigrant students graduate from U.S. high schools on a yearly basis.

From the start, the Pew Research Center estimated that up to 1.7 million people might be eligible. As of June 2016, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services(USCIS) had received 844,931 initial applications for DACA status, of which 741,546 (88%) were approved, 60,269 (7%) were denied, and 43,121 (5%) were pending. Over half of those accepted reside in California and Texas.

In November 2014, U.S. President Barack Obama attempted to expand DACA.However, in December 2014, Texas and 25 other states, all with Republican governors, sued in the District Court for the Southern District of Texas asking the court to enjoin implementation of both the DACA expansion and Deferred Action for Parents of Americans (a similar program).

In February 2015, Judge Andrew S. Hanen issued a preliminary injunction blocking the expansion from going into effect while the case, Texas v. United States, proceeds. After progressing through the court system, an equally divided (4-4) Supreme Court left the injunction in place, without setting any precedent.

If you want to do something here is one positive thing to do:

First, find your representative and senators here. Just enter your zip code and click on their names to obtain their contact information.

Second, pick up the phone and call each one of them. You can ask to speak with the staffer in charge of immigration policy or just leave a message. Here is a sample script:

Hello,

My name is ____, and I am one of your constituents. I am calling to express my discontent with the White House’s decision to end DACA and ask Senator/Representative ______ to support legislative action that will protect immigrants affected by the termination of DACA. Eight hundred thousand lives are affected because of the president’s decision to end DACA, and now it is time for Congress to pass a law that would provide a pathway to citizenship for this group of immigrants. Does Senator/Representative _____ currently support the DREAM Act or Hope Act?

If you are told your representative/senator supports either the DREAM (in the Senate) or Hope Act (in the House of Representatives), say thank you and let them know you applaud that decision.

If you are told your representative/senator does not support either the DREAM or Hope Act, ask the staffer to explain why. Then, let the staffer know the human and economic impact that leaving 800,000 youth undocumented would have (see script for the White House above).

If you are told your representative/senator has not made up his or her mind on the DREAM or Hope Act, let the staffer know you urge the representative/senator to support these legislative efforts.

 

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