Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC) Chairwoman Rep. Michelle Luján Grisham (NM-01), CHC Immigration Task Force Chair Rep. Luis V. Gutiérrez (IL-04), and CHC Education and Labor Task Force Chair Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva (AZ-03) sent a letter to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Acting Director Thomas D. Homan to express outrage at a series of tweets that ICE issued on March 9, 2017 regarding the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program for DREAMers.
Chairwoman Michelle Lujan Grisham (NM-01): “It is shameful that ICE is ratcheting up fear and terror in young people who courageously stepped out of the shadows, got right with the law, and applied for DACA. These are young people who represent the best of America. For the Administration to behave in such a hostile manner toward them is unacceptable. Since the DACA program began, these young people have had an enormous effect on educational and employment outcomes and have been a major driver of economic growth—for individuals and families, as well as cities and states. We should strive for more sensible, fair, and compassionate immigration policies like DACA, not threaten to rescind them.”
Rep. Luis V. Gutiérrez (IL-04): “President Trump and his people should keep their hands off of the DREAMers, period. Tweeting out that every DACA recipient is vulnerable to deportation is just another way this President is trying to create fear in immigrant communities, to make families and children think that their government could come after them at any time. It is disgusting behavior on the part of the Department of Homeland Security and the White House and it needs to stop.”
Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva (AZ-03): “DHS’s recent tweets make clear what many of us have known for some time: Donald Trump and this administration are more interested in deporting immigrants than they are in protecting families or retaining talent for our workforce. The DACA program was a commitment between our government and bright young people all across this country who have never known another place as home. Instead of honoring that commitment, Trump and his administration continue to imply that they would rather punish DACA recipients for choices they never made. Trump should know that fear is not a substitute for leadership – he can continue trying to terrorize immigrant communities, but immigrants will rise above his hate each and every time.”
The letter reads: “We write to you to express our concern and outrage about a series of tweets that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) issued on March 9, 2017 regarding the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. These tweets reveal the Administration’s contempt for our communities and ultimately undermine the DACA program. We oppose any policy and enforcement changes that will result in the deportation of DACA recipients.
“We believe that the purpose of these tweets, which stated that DACA could be “revoked anytime” and that “DACA recipients are typically a lower level of enforcement priority” are meant to create fear among DREAMers and to discourage them from applying to the program. ICE continues to perpetuate this fear by detaining and trying to deport DREAMers. As we have seen in the cases of Daniel Ramirez Medina and Daniela Vargas. We find ICE’s actions to be despicable and very concerning given that ICE Acting Director Homan recently stated in a meeting with several Congressional members that DACA recipients were not a priority and would not be targeted unless they had a criminal record.
“The DACA program allows young immigrants to be productive members of society by allowing them to continue their studies and join the workforce. As a result of DACA, recipients can legally work, contribute greater amounts in state, local, and federal taxes and help provide for their families. In addition, the DACA program has allowed recipients to work in fields where there are current labor shortages, such as education, community service and health care.
“87 percent of DACA recipients are currently employed and have helped to broaden the payroll tax base and increased Social Security and Medicare contributions. Anything that undermines the DACA program and results in a loss of workers will hurt the American economy. For example the state of California, which has an estimated 187,972 DACA workers, would lose $11.3 billion dollars annually if it were to lose these workers.
“Efforts by this Administration to undermine and ultimately repeal the DACA program are disconnected from reality and are not in the best interest of America. We ask that ICE use its limited resources to target violent criminals and not to harass and deport young immigrants who are productive and engaged members of society.”