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  • Writer's pictureVoces Unidas de las Montañas

Appeals court’s DACA decision heightens need for Congress to act now

If you need another reason to get involved in policy advocacy — and to work to motivate others to get involved as well — you need only look at this week’s ruling from a federal appeals court that President Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) order is illegal.

Quite simply, DACA is not just under attack — it is in danger of being overturned, which would upend the lives of tens of thousands of people.

We need Congress to pass a law to protect DACA participants. Yes, that is a step that Congress has been unable to take for more than two decades, but for the nearly 700,000 young immigrants protected from deportation by DACA -- and all of those who still need protection — it’s critical.

And, given the conservative leanings of the federal courts where these DACA legal challenges are being heard, it’s something we need Congress to do this year.

Among the activities during our Latino Advocacy Day in Washington, D.C., in May, we met with Sens. Michael Bennet and John Hickenlooper and pushed for their continued leadership and action to pass the American Dream and Promise Act — the new version of the Dream Act. Today, we are renewing those calls, not just for Colorado’s U.S. Senators, but for our entire congressional delegation.

Here’s what we know about where things stand given this week’s court ruling:

DACA renewals can continue and their DACA and work authorization remain valid;

DHS will continue to not process any first-time DACA applicants applications;

The federal appeals court asked a lower court to rule on whether the Biden administration’s new rules (issued in August) might somehow make DACA legal (unfortunately, the Department of Justice has conceded in court filings that the new rule is not fundamentally different in terms of legality).

If, as is likely, the Supreme Court ultimately rules against DACA and halts renewals, the group estimates an average of 5,000 DACA recipients will lose their protections each week for the next two years as renewals are halted. That translates to 1,000 jobs lost, and 1,000 U.S. citizens whose family members will be exposed to deportation, each and every business day.

That is unacceptable.

The only way to avoid this moral injustice and economic catastrophe is for Congress to act. Congress must protect Dreamers with a pathway to citizenship. It would be disastrous to wait until another court decision before going in on a full legislative push - not only is control of Congress uncertain, but it is incredibly cruel to put millions of Dreamers and their families through any more uncertainty.



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