On September 5, 2017, President Trump announced he was ending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which would fully expire in March 2018 unless Congress moved to protect DACA recipients and Dreamers by passing a permanent legislative solution. Unfortunately, Congress has not yet succeeded in passing such critical legislation, leaving as many as 800,000 DACA recipients, including many students and more than 9,000 educators, with only the short-term ability to re-apply to participate in the program which provides temporary protections from deportation and an all-important work permit. However, Dreamers, those who would be eligible for DACA or those individuals who would have aged into DACA program eligibility (at age 15), are not able to apply to the program.
Now is the time for a permanent legislative solution. DACA recipients and Dreamers — people brought to the United States as children and know no other country as home — deserve the certainty and permanent protections provided by the Dream Act of 2017 (S. 1615/H.R. 3440), a bipartisan bill that includes multiple pathways to citizenship via higher education, military service, or employment. To qualify, individuals must have entered the United States as minors and have a continuous presence in the United States for four years before the date of the bill’s enactment.
NEA strongly opposes any legislation that does not provide a permanent pathway to citizenship for DACA recipients and Dreamers. In addition, the NEA strongly opposes any legislation that cuts legal immigration, strikes at the heart of family unification, or includes any other egregious anti-immigrant measures.