For Immediate Release:
September 5, 2017
WASHINGTON, DC – Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service (LIRS) is deeply disappointed that today, the Trump Administration announced plans to terminate the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program that gave a deportation reprieve to hundreds of thousands of young immigrants.
“We are deeply concerned that President Trump’s decision effectively shuns immigrant youth who are valued members of communities all across the United States,” says Linda Hartke, LIRS President and CEO. “Terminating DACA will place the nearly 800,000 DREAMers the program allows to work and live legally in the United States at immediate risk of deportation. In most cases, these children came to the US at a young age seeking reunification with family members. The President’s action today shamefully undercuts the value we as Americans place on keeping families together, and destabilizes the status of thousands of people who live in our communities, worship in our churches, and call America home.”
While DACA was not intended to provide a path to legal permanent residency or citizenship, LIRS believes that migrants who have lived in families and communities since they were children should be free from worry about deportation, free to focus on their studies, attain skills and contribute to the communities they call home. A recent study by the University of California at San Diego found that after being approved for DACA, 5% of recipients started their own businesses and 16% purchased their first homes. Ending the program removes tens of thousands of contributors from the US economy and work force.
“DACA was a promise of hope for a group of young men and women whose only offense is to love their family and this country where they were raised. This is their home. Whether it is through passing of the Dream Act of 2017 or any of the other legislative remedies already introduced during the 115th Congress, decisive action is needed. America made a promise and Congress needs to make sure that we keep it,” added Hartke.
Founded in 1939, Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service is the second largest refugee resettlement agency in the United States. It is nationally recognized for its leadership advocating with refugees, asylum seekers, unaccompanied children, immigrants in detention, families fractured by migration and other vulnerable populations. Through more than 75 years of service and advocacy, LIRS has helped over 500,000 migrants and refugees rebuild their lives in America.