Early in September, the Trump administration announced their plan to rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which allows 800,000 people across the country (and over 6,200 in the state of Minnesota) to work and go to school without fear of deportation. The program is set to end in March 2018, giving Congress limited time to pass a clean bill protecting “Dreamers.”
No new DACA applications are currently being accepted and the deadline for eligible renewals closed on October 5th; however, DACA recipients should receive all the benefits and protections of DACA until their permit expires. The status of the DACA program is in jeopardy, as are the lives of thousands of Minnesotan workers and students that rely on it.
Here are three ways that you can support DACA recipients in Minnesota today:
1.Tell Congress to protect Dreamers and pass a clean DREAM Act. The DREAM Act of 2017 is a bill introduced in Congress that would call on the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to grant lawful permanent resident status to eligible people who were under the age of 18 when they first entered the United States. Essentially, the DREAM Act would protect current and future DACA recipients by codifying the program.
At this time, the following Minnesota Representatives have not signed on to the DREAM Act of 2017:
- Rep. Erik Paulsen
- Rep. Colin Peterson
- Rep. Tom Emmer
- Rep. Jason Lewis
If your Representative has not yet signed on to the DREAM Act of 2017, call the U.S. House switchboard operator at 202-225-3121 to be connected to your Representative and tell them to sign on immediately to the DREAM Act and support young workers and students in Minnesota.
Minnesota Senators Al Franken and Amy Klobuchar have not yet co-sponsored the DREAM Act of 2017, but are both vocal supporters of the legislation and have made statements condemning President Trump’s decision to end the program.
If your Representative or Senator already supports the DREAM Act, call and thank them for their support. Ask them to continue to advocate for all immigrant families and to support progressive immigration reform.
2. Support DACA students at your school and campus. Immigrant students have rights and schools and universities should be proactive in advocating and protecting undocumented students. The ACLU of Minnesota recently sent out letters to 619 superintendents and higher education institutions outlining the rights of current DACA students and how schools can protect them. Review the current protections and rights of DACA students by reading our recommendations to superintendents and higher education institutions, as well as reviewing the limitations of the Minnesota Dream Act.
- If you are a parent of a child that attends elementary or secondary school: Write or call the superintendent of your school district and affirm the importance of a diverse and safe environment where all students can learn without fear of deportation.
- If you are a student at a university or college: Work with immigrant rights organizations on- and off-campus to create a petition and call for your college or university to proactively come out in support of undocumented students. For examples of supportive policies, see our recommendations above and visit United We Dream and National Immigration Law Center for more ideas. You can also work with immigrant rights organizations on- and off-campus to organize protests and rallies in support of DACA students.
- If you are a donor to a university or college: Call or write the donor relations department and tell them that you want to invest in the education of all students, including Dreamers. If your university/college explicitly supports DACA students and undocumented students, thank them and identify their commitment to immigrant students as a key factor in your continued donations. If your university/college does not explicitly support DACA students and undocumented students, tell them that you will be pausing your donations until they explicitly come out in support of undocumented students on campus.
3. Report any violation of DACA protections to the ACLU. DACA recipients applied and paid for a government program that offers lawful permanent status as long as they follow the rules and stipulations of the program. The Trump administration has a responsibility to uphold the protections guaranteed under the DACA program for the thousands of immigrants still enrolled.
Unfortunately, the ACLU has received information that the government is not upholding their end of the deal and deporting DACA recipients who are meeting all the requirements of the program. No one should be torn apart from their home, family, and community or stripped from their DACA benefits without due process protections. Young people across the country entered a deal with the government, came forward and paid a fee, and they deserve all the protections under that agreement as long as the program continues.
If you or someone you know have had DACA unfairly revoked, please contact the ACLU at DACArevoked@aclu.org.