Appleseed Network Calls for a Solution to the Dreamer Dilemma
WASHINGTON, September 14, 2017 (Newswire.com) - The following is an open letter written by the Appleseed Network; all views expressed are theirs.
The Appleseed Network Immigration Collaborative is disappointed that the Trump Administration decided to terminate the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Program, which it had continued over the past seven months. "The DACA issue goes to the heart of who we are as a country. DREAMERS have demonstrated their skills, their passions, and their love for this country," said Malcolm Rich, co-chair of the Appleseed Network Immigration Collaborative and Executive Director of the Chicago Appleseed Fund for Justice. "By allowing this to happen we will certainly hurt the DREAMERS — but we will hurt this country even more."
In June 2014, on the two-year anniversary of DACA, Appleseed issued the report "A DREAM Deferred: From DACA to Citizenship." This report analyzed the DACA Program and its implementation, and presented a series of recommendations for future programs like DACA to ensure effective enactment and broad participation. Steven Schulman, an author of the report and Chair of the Appleseed Network Board of Directors and the Immigration Collaborative, notes that "DACA provided an important sense of security to individuals who had been brought to the United States as children, but had been unable to secure other immigration statuses. DACA allowed these Americans in every sense but citizenship to work, attend school and be productive members of society. It is now up to Congress to provide immigration status to these individuals." Based on the lessons we learned from stakeholders as we researched and wrote "A DREAM Deferred," Appleseed recommends that any proposed alternative to DACA consider the following:
· These individuals need a long-term solution, which will allow them to continue to build lives in the United States and contribute to American society. DACA provided only temporary reprieves from removal, and provided no guarantee of how the government would use their information in the future, leaving many applicants feeling vulnerable.
· Cost and eligibility criteria should be established that do not present obstacles for eligible recipients. DACA's high fees — with no available fee waivers — and vague eligibility criteria led many eligible persons to decline to pursue DACA relief.
· Outreach to undocumented immigrants in rural areas or in communities with limited internet access is critical. These populations were less informed about DACA, and thus did not utilize the program to the fullest extent.
· Input from immigration organizations and pro bono lawyers is necessary to create an integrated strategy of outreach and organizing, communications, policy and law to provide high-stakes, high-quality legal advice and assistance to help applicants.
Appleseed believes that individuals who were brought to the United States as children, and have been unable otherwise to obtain immigration status, should have a path to permanent status in the country in which they have grown up and to which they have already contributed. Congress can and should do this through an effective and fair program that is implemented in an efficient manner.
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About Appleseed Network
Appleseed Network is a nonprofit network of 18 public interest justice centers in the United States and Mexico dedicated to building a society in which opportunities are genuine, access to law is universal and equal, and government advances the public interest. For more information, visit www.appleseednetwork.org.
Malcolm Rich +1.312.988.6565 firstname.lastname@example.org
Steven Schulman +1.202.887.4071 email@example.com
Source: Appleseed Network