Washington, D.C. — As hundreds of thousands of DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) recipients wait for Congress to pass legislation that will make them citizens of the United States, two Senators introduced a flawed and harsh bill to offer some DACA recipients citizenship. In response to this newly introduced legislation, Asian Americans Advancing Justice, an affiliation of five Asian American civil rights organizations, issues the following statement:
“Twenty days ago, the President created an unnecessary crisis by terminating the DACA program. The only solution now is for Congress to pass a clean DREAM Act, which would provide a reasonable path to citizenship for the immigrant youth who are American in every sense of the word.
Today, Senators Tillis and Lankford introduced a bill that contains unnecessary and poisonous provisions. The bill introduced by the Senators moves away from the Dream Act — a resolution that treats undocumented immigrants with dignity and humanity. The legislation makes the path to citizenship significantly longer, and fewer people would be eligible than under the preferred, bipartisan DREAM Act.
Among the troubling provisions, the bill would require applicants to waive many of their rights to legal proceedings and due process in the future. This provision is repugnant and constitutionally questionable. We oppose this legislation.
There is broad support for providing the DACA-eligible population the citizenship they deserve. Seventy-eight percent of American voters support giving undocumented youth the chance to stay permanently in America, including 73% of Trump voters. Since its creation in 2012, DACA has transformed the lives of nearly 800,000 young people by providing temporary work authorization and relief from deportation. Among the immigrants affected by the termination are many Asian Americans and Pacific Islander immigrants, including approximately 120,000 who were eligible for DACA.
Congress should not play politics with the lives of these young people. Congress needs to pass a clean DREAM Act now