As DACA Deadline Passes, World Relief Presses Congress to Pass Legislative Solution for Dreamers
BALTIMORE — As the March 5th deadline by which thousands of recipients of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) were to lose their temporary legal status in the United States has passed, World Relief urges Congress to take action to protect Dreamers on a permanent basis.
There are approximately 1.8 million individuals in the United States, otherwise known as Dreamers, who do not have any legal status because they were brought into the United States by their parents illegally or overstayed their visa. Their status has been a point of debate in our country, with Congress failing to enact legislation that would allow these individuals a pathway for earned legalization to stay in the country they’ve called home.
The creation of the DACA program allowed Dreamers to be de-prioritized for deportation and obtain temporary work authorization for a period of two years, subject to renewal. They had to meet certain criteria and not have a criminal record. Since the start of the program, nearly 800,000 individuals received DACA status.
“The burden is on Congress to pass a permanent legislative fix to help Dreamers in this country. But yet, Congress has repeatedly failed to act,” said Scott Arbeiter, President of World Relief. In the last effort, during the week of February 12th, the Senate voted multiple proposals to legalize the status of DACA recipients and other Dreamers, with a combination of border security, cuts to family-based immigration, and more stringent immigration enforcement in general. However, all these bills failed to pass.
“The level of fear and insecurity in our country felt by vulnerable immigrant communities is real and palpable and has increased significantly over the past year,” continued Arbeiter. “Congress must put aside politics and not kick the can further down the road.”
On February 7, World Relief published a full-page ad in the Washington Post that asked the President and Congress to work together to pass a legislative solution for Dreamers in the country. In just a few weeks, the letter garnered over 3,000 signatures with church leaders from every state supporting immigrants in the United States.
“Every day that passes without a legislative fix for Dreamers is another day of uncertainty our immigrant brothers and sisters face living in a country they’ve called home,” said Arbeiter. “We had asked churches to continue to serve and assist their immigrant neighbors during this time, and we believe Congress has a role to play to ensure our immigrant neighbors can thrive.”
World Relief is a global humanitarian relief and development organization that stands with the vulnerable and partners with local churches to end the cycle of suffering, transform lives and build sustainable communities. With over 70 years of experience, World Relief works in 20 countries worldwide through disaster response, health and child development, economic development and peacebuilding and has offices in the United States that specialize in refugee and immigration services.