Letter to Donald Trump, President of the U.S. - Over 100 House Democrats and CHC Members Call on President Trump to Endorse American Dream and Promise Act, Permanently Protect Dreamers
Dear President Trump:
Following the Supreme Court's landmark decision rejecting your repeal of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), we strongly urge you to change course and use your executive authority to protect, not deport, the young immigrants who are eligible for DACA.
Eight years ago, following bipartisan requests from Congress, President Obama used his legal authority to establish DACA. DACA provides temporary protection from deportation on an individualized basis to immigrants who arrived in the United States as children if they register with the government, pay a fee, and pass criminal and national security background checks. The
young people who are eligible for DACA, known as Dreamers, are American in every way except for their immigration status. More than 800,000 Dreamers have come forward and received DACA. DACA has unleashed the full potential of Dreamers, who are contributing to our country as soldiers, nurses, teachers, and small business owners, and in many other ways.
In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, more than 200,000 DACA recipients are working in occupational areas that your Administration's Department of Homeland Security (DHS) identifies as part of the "essential critical infrastructure workforce." This includes an estimated 41,700 DACA recipients working in the health care industry, including physicians and physicians in training, intensive care nurses, paramedics, respiratory therapists, nursing assistants, and health technicians. It makes no sense to continue your efforts to deport these essential workers to countries they barely remember even as our nation grapples with the COVID-19 pandemic.
When you announced your repeal of DACA, you called on Congress to "legalize DACA," but since then, you have rejected numerous bipartisan deals to protect Dreamers. For example, on January 11, 2018, in a meeting in the Oval Office, you profanely rejected a bipartisan immigration agreement that included protection for Dreamers and a large down payment on your beloved border wall. On February 15, 2018, the Senate considered a bipartisan amendment offered by Senators Mike Rounds (R-SD) and Angus King (I-ME) which included a path to citizenship for Dreamers. A bipartisan majority supported the amendment, but it failed to reach the 60 votes needed to pass because your Administration issued a strident statement of opposition. On the same day, the Senate rejected your hardline immigration proposal by a bipartisan supermajority of 39-60.
On June 4, 2019, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 6, the American Dream and Promise Act, legislation that would give Dreamers a path to citizenship, on a strong bipartisan vote of 237-187. The American Dream and Promise Act has now been pending in the Senate for more than a year. Without your support, it is unlikely that Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell will schedule it for a vote.
Mr. President, it is not too late for you to do the right thing. Specifically, we call on you to immediately:
1. Publicly announce that you will not make another attempt to repeal DACA;
2. Comply with the Supreme Court's decision by directing DHS to follow the June 15, 2012, memo issued by then-Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano called, Exercising Prosecutorial Discretion with Respect to Individuals Who Came to the United States as Children; and
3. Endorse the American Dream and Promise Act, which would pass the Senate on a strong bipartisan vote if you simply called on Leader McConnell to bring it to a vote.
As the Supreme Court has recognized, our nation can continue to protect Dreamers. By contrast, your Administration's efforts to deport DACA recipients are needlessly cruel and would weaken our nation's essential workforce. While only Congress can provide a pathway to citizenship for Dreamers, it is up to you whether that process is done as smoothly and as harmlessly as possible so that these young immigrants who have benefitted from America in countless ways can also continue contributing to our nation.
It would be an American tragedy to deport DACA recipients who are saving lives in the midst of this pandemic. We must ensure these talented young immigrants are not forced to stop working when the need for their public service has never been greater. And we must give them the chance they deserve to become American citizens.
We, and hundreds of thousands of Dreamers, await your response.