President Donald Trump’s ending of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA) has many Nevada leaders and organizations speaking out.
DACA, since 2012, has allowed the children of unauthorized immigrants to avoid deportation. About 800,000 young adults living in the U.S. are under the DACA program – many came to the U.S. as children and are now integrated into American society.
About 13,000 of those are in Nevada.
“Having DACA does not give immigrants any path to becoming legal permanent residents or citizens,” according to reporting by Dara Lind at Vox. “It allows young unauthorized immigrants who meet certain criteria to apply for a commitment from the federal government for ‘deferred action’ – that is, a commitment not to initiate deportation proceedings – for two years. Successful applicants also receive a work permit.”
They are taxpayers, have gone to school here and many are working jobs while contributing billions to the U.S. economy.
Trump’s termination of the program in six months has drawn rebukes from Governor Brian Sandoval, University of Nevada, Reno President Marc Johnson, Nevada System of Higher Education and the Washoe County School District, among others.
Reno Mayor Hillary Schieve urged Congress today to pass legislation that would keep these immigrants here.
“It would remove Dreamers’ fears of deportation and allow them to contribute even more to the country they love, which for many is the only country they have known,” she wrote as part of a statement from the U.S. Conference of Mayors to Congress. “They would be able to reach their full potential in many ways, including serving in the (U.S.) military.”
The Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada (PLAN) held a press conference today urging activists to more direct action.
PLAN’s Bob Fulkerson said that Trump’s actions amount to a massive hate crime.
“This is much more than a Latino or immigration issue,” he said. “This is an issue of basic common decency and human rights.”
Maria Toca, a DACA recipient, also spoke at the press conference.
“The amount of support I’ve received … it’s amazing to see that and amazing to feel that,” she said. “That’s what makes this place home for me.
“We dreamt of living the American Dream, and we did it. It’s not okay to just take that away from us,” she added. “People have been blaming our parents for making the decision to come here and giving us no choice, but they did that to give us a better chance. With DACA, we are achieving it.”
Toca came to the U.S. When she was four. She has two academic degrees, is a teacher and is raising a U.S.-born son.
“I can’t put my hands up and surrender for doing something I was told to do and for just living my life,” she explained.
Watch a livestream video of today’s press conference below.