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HIAS Slams Trump Administration’s Decision on DACA, Urges Congress to Protect Dreamers

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SILVER SPRING, Md.—Today, the Trump administration announced its decision to terminate the legal status of nearly one million immigrant kids and young adults. The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) – an executive action taken by President Obama in 2012 after decades of failure in Congress to enact any kind of immigration reform – is a widely popular policy that has enjoyed years of bipartisan support. Unless Congress acts in the next six months to save the program, the individuals protected by it will lose their current legal status.

In response to the announcement, Mark Hetfield, President and CEO of HIAS, the global Jewish nonprofit that protects refugees, said: “We must restore basic fairness and morality to the way we treat immigrants in this country, and there is no better place to start than with these young Americans. Like generations of immigrants before, including millions of Jewish parents and grandparents, the parents of these kids have made enormous sacrifices, not for themselves, but in the hope that their children would have a chance at a real future. The president has likely put the American dream out of reach for countless people today, as he continues to reverse course on the American tradition of welcoming immigrants and refugees.”

Added Melanie Nezer, HIAS’ Senior Vice President for Public Affairs, “DACA recognized these individuals for who they are: Americans in everything but paperwork. Their hopes and dreams are no different from kids who are born here, and there is no legitimate reason for inflicting this needless suffering on them and their families.”

“These are kids who went to school, made friends, joined teams, grew up, enlisted in the military, went to college, went to work, volunteered, and lived normal, American lives,” said Nezer. “Congress must immediately pass a law that will allow these kids and young adults to stay here legally and permanently that does not include any conditions or trade-offs, or in any way punish other immigrants, and sends a message that they belong here and their contributions to our society are meaningful.”

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