The Latin America Working Group (LAWG) vehemently opposes today’s decision by President Trump to end Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) in six months and turn his back on the nearly 800,000 young Dreamers and their families. The President’s decision does not represent American values, and it will not strengthen our economy. It is an attack on the immigrant youth and families that make this country great and on our neighbors in Latin America from which many of these youth and their parents originate.
LAWG urges Congress to act immediately to pass the bipartisan Dream Act of 2017, providing these Dreamers with a pathway to legal permanent status and citizenship. We urge the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to protect them from apprehension and deportation in the coming months of uncertainty.
“Today, the President has attacked the very notion of the American dream that this country was built on. By ending the DACA program in six months, the President places the lives of these young people in uncertainty and fuels his anti-immigrant and anti-refugee agenda. We urge Congress to pass the overdue Dream Act of 2017 immediately and allow these members of our communities to continue living and contributing to our country as they have been for so many years,” states Daniella Burgi-Palomino, Senior Associate for Mexico, Migrant Rights, and Border Issues.
There is widespread support to continue the program, not only from Democratic and Republic members of the Congress, but also from the business and faith communities. A recent study estimated the loss of DACA workers would reduce U.S. GDP by an estimated $460 billion over the next 10 years.
According to the latest statistics, the top DACA beneficiaries come from Mexico, followed by El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Peru. The eventual implementation of this decision could undermine U.S. foreign policy interests in Latin America that aim to promote security and prosperity by leading to the separation of families. Faced with deportation to countries where they lack safety networks, some individuals might turn to smugglers and traffickers to be reunited with their families in the United States. The Northern Triangle of Central America, El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras continue to experience extremely unstable situations in terms of violence, human rights violations, including sexual and gender based violence, and weak programs to receive and reintegrate deported migrants. The potential deportation of immigrants to these countries could lead to increased displacement and instability in the region.
LAWG rejects the President’s statements criminalizing the Dreamers and linking DACA to the child migrant crisis in 2014. We stand by the Dreamers and their families and will continue to fight for their protection.