ONE YEAR DACA ANNIVERSARY SHOWS WAY FORWARD ON IMMIGRATION REFORM
"About 400,000 young immigrants do not need to worry every day about deportation…
What many of them are concentrating on now is getting an immigration bill passed
that addresses the legal status of their families and neighbors."
Washington, DC – The following is statement by Rep. Luis V. Gutiérrez (D-IL) on the one year anniversary of the day applications first were accepted for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). Rep. Gutiérrez is Chair of the Immigration Task Force of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, a Member of the Judiciary Committee, and one of seven House Members negotiating a bipartisan immigration reform bill.
"DACA was a turning point. Politically it was a huge boost to the President and helped galvanize Democrats around immigration reform and putting a stop to needless deportations that break up families and waste resources. The American people saw hundreds of thousands of young immigrants come forward who are just like other young people in America. It put a face on the immigration issue and set aside fears that legalization is unworkable or politically disastrous. It showed that immigration reform on a grander scale can work and that it is the right thing to do.
"DACA was an important test for the pro-immigrant movement in this country. Young people lined up by the thousands a year ago and we had a secure, orderly process for registering with the government, submitting fees and fingerprints, and going through a thorough background check. When we get a broader immigration bill passed this year, it is going to require a massive civil undertaking to get people in the system and on the books, but DACA was a good dress rehearsal.
"In my two Chicago area offices, we are helping people fill out DACA applications at a rate of about 80-100 per month. Nancy Onofre is the second DACA recipient I hired and she helps people fill out DACA applications in my office in Cicero. DACA recipient Jose Quintero worked in my Chicago office also assisting with DACA applications since January until he recently left to study architecture in Chicago on a scholarship.
"About 400,000 young immigrants do not need to worry every day about deportation, legally working, or in most states getting a driver's license. What many of them are concentrating on now is getting an immigration bill passed that addresses the legal status of their families and neighbors. I meet them at pro-immigration reform rallies across the country and they have been very clear with me. Reform that only legalizes the DREAMers and does not address the status of their parents and other undocumented immigrants in our communities would be unacceptable."
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