Commentary: Austin, TX – Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly told members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus during a meeting this week that the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program is under threat and at the mercy of anti-immigrant Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
The latest attacks on DACA originated from the Lone Star State when Attorney General Ken Paxton sent a letter to the Trump Administration late last month demanding that they end the program by September 5. If DACA is not terminated, Paxton will seek to bring the case before a federal judge named Andrew Hanen, who is notoriously anti-immigrant and infamously blocked the DAPA initiative that would have provided relief to some 4 million undocumented immigrants in America. Texas currently has more than 124,000 DACA recipients who are working, going to school, and contributing to the state they call home, and Texas advocates will continue to defend and fight for immigrant youth and DACA, a successful program that has provided opportunities and peace of mind for hundreds of thousands of Texans and their families. Michelle Tremillo, Executive Director of the Texas Organizing Project, released the following statement, “This latest threat to repeal DACA from the Trump administration is disheartening but not surprising. It’s clear that the Republican playbook followed by Trump and Gov. Abbott centers on marginalizing and criminalizing people of color. DACA has been a successful program. In Texas alone, more than 100,000 young people right now are able to contribute more fully and live more freely because they have DACA. To take this away from them now would be unbelievably cruel and destructive. We will continue fighting for DACA and against all threats to our communities, and we will hold these politicians responsible.” Oscar Hernandez, Organizer at United We Dream and a DACA beneficiary, said, "The DACA program has changed my life. Immigrant youth won the DACA program by fearlessly stepping up, sharing our stories and leading with love. And make no mistake, we will organize and fight to defend these victories even as Secretary Kelly punts his responsibility over DACA onto Jeff Sessions. We call on our local elected officials and all people of conscience to take bold actions in protecting immigrant youth, our families, and our communities to put a stop to the Trump administration’s mass deportation machine.” Abraham Diaz, Education Specialist at La Union del Pueblo Entero in the Rio Grande Valley, said, “As a DACA recipient, I have lived through the struggles of being undocumented while attending high school and college. I struggled with getting a job without DACA and had to pack onions and sell newspapers to provide for my family. Because of DACA, I was able to get a better job, apply for a driver's license, and, through my college student organization, help others in the Rio Grande Valley apply for DACA. I know that Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton wants to try and take DACA away from us, but immigrant youth and our allies won DACA, and we are ready to let Ken Paxton know that we are he to stay.” Mario Carrillo, State Director of America’s Voice Texas, said, “AG Paxton’s latest attack on DACA continues a dangerous pattern of harmful anti-immigrant rhetoric and policies coming from Austin, that begin with Governor Abbott’s ratification of SB4. Paxton, Abbott, and the GOP are creating a reputation for Texas of discriminatory legislation that targets communities of color, promotes racial profiling, and goes against the values of justice and equality that we hold dear as a state and a nation. We cannot give an inch to Paxton, Abbott, or the Trump administration: if you stand with immigrant youth, you must join the fight to save DACA.”