January 10, 2018 — New York
AJC welcomed a federal judge’s decision providing a respite to beneficiaries of the DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) program. Judge William Alsup of the Federal District Court in San Francisco ordered the Trump administration to “maintain the DACA program on a nationwide basis” as legal challenges to the president’s decision to terminate the program go forward.
“Judge Alsup has provided DACA beneficiaries at least some temporary relief from a threat to the lives they have built in the United States,” said Richard T. Foltin, AJC Director of National and Legislative Affairs.
In September, the President declared that DACA would be terminated effective March 5, 2018, and called on Congress to replace the program with new legislation. So far Congress has not acted.
“The decision to end DACA without a ready alternative was deeply distressing,” said Foltin. “The Administration’s vow to appeal Judge Alsup’s ruling should motivate Congress to act quickly to enact the DREAM Act, which will end the uncertainty of the status of these many young immigrants, protect them from deportation, and give them an opportunity to obtain permanent legal status and ultimately a path to citizenship if they meet reasonable requirements.”
Since its creation by executive order in 2012, DACA has protected the legal status of nearly 800,000 undocumented immigrants whose parents brought them to the U.S. as children. DACA enabled them to work and go to school so long as they passed a background check and had no criminal records.
“Dismantling DACA would be a devastating blow to hundreds of thousands of young people who have benefited from the program—and who have, in turn, contributed to communities across the country in which they live,” said Foltin. “Embracing, not penalizing, these young people, who, as children, did not knowingly violate any law, is consistent with our nation’s long tradition of welcoming immigrants who want to make the United States their home.”