Newark, NJ- Since 2012, millions of young immigrants, known as DREAMers, have applied for deportation relief under Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), a temporary reprieve from deportation. But there is a possibility that DACA recipients will no longer have protections and are facing deportation under a new presidential administration. Some lawmakers on Capitol Hill are trying to the protect DREAMers and recently sent a letter to President Obama urging him to grant pardons to DACA recipients.
DACA is a temporary immigration program enacted by President Obama in June of 2012 through executive order. The program gave DREAMers; young immigrants brought to the U.S. as children, relief from deportation and the right to apply for temporary work authorization. DACA recipients don’t have the same legal rights legal permanent residents or citizens, but being granted the status significantly reduces the risk they will be deported.
To apply for DACA, immigrants were required to complete applications containing personal information and undergo background checks. As a result, their names, addresses, emails are known to the Department of Homeland Security, which means that revocation of DACA could expedite the removal of these DREAMers.
In a letter sent to the president on November 17, 2016, Reps. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.), Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-Calif.) and Luis Gutiérrez (D-Ill.) asked that he “retroactively and prospectively” grant a pardon to DACA recipients while he’s still in office. The letter notes that some DREAMers are fearful and under psychological distress because of the uncertainties they face if DACA is eliminated. A pardon would give millions of these young people more certainty about their future and allow them to remain in the U.S. without fear of being removed.
Article II of the U.S. Constitution allows presidents to pardon individuals for “offences against the United States,” and all presidents use the power. While the power to pardon is typically used to forgive criminal convictions, there is precedent to argue the President could exercise his power to pardon “categorically,” and for civil violations of the law, which means it could be applied to individuals accused of immigration law violations. A pardon granted by the President is not reversible and would give DACA recipients permanent protections from removal and give them the opportunity to stay in the country where they have lived most of their lives.
I think DREAMers deserve to remain in the U.S. and continue to be valued members of their communities. In just a few years, many DREAMers have become or are on their way to becoming doctors, lawyers, nurses, community leaders, and made innumerable positive contributions. I support offering DREAMers a presidential pardon and encourage you to speak up if you agree.
If you think DREAMers should be pardoned write or call the President, your local Representative or Senator and tell them you think DREAMers should be given relief from deportation and the opportunity to strive for the American dream. Find your elected officials here: http://www.house.gov/representatives/find/ and here: http://www.senate.gov/index.htm. Or you can write the president or sign a White House petition here: https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/we-people-request-president-united-states-pardon-daca-recipients.
If you live in New Jersey have questions about your immigration status or need help with an application, contact my office at 973-453-2009 and arrange a consultation. I understand the challenges immigrants face and will work hard to help them overcome any difficulties you face trying to get your desired immigration status or visa.