DACA is essential: Statement from Legal Aid at Work

DREAMers marching for DACA

The Trump administration’s action today ending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, known as DACA, strikes at the heart of our democracy and the promise it holds for people around the world. Here is a statement from Legal Aid at Work president Joan M. Graff:

“During this time of confusion and uncertainty, it is important to bear in mind that all workers, regardless of their immigration status, have rights. DACA recipients — like their coworkers — continue to have protections under federal and state workplace laws. Employers should not terminate any DACA recipient with a valid Employment Authorization Document.

“But this fact — that the rule of law holds — does nothing to diminish our belief that the administration’s decision to rescind DACA is mean-spirited, small-minded, and a shameful betrayal of our nation’s core principles. If Congress does not act to put the protections afforded by DACA into law, hundreds of thousands of young people could be wrested from their families and communities, and our country will lose the rich contributions they make to their schools, workplaces, and civic life in general.

“Since President Barack Obama announced DACA in 2012, it has enabled nearly 800,000 people who came to the United States as children to attend school, participate in community activities, work lawfully and live their lives without fear of deportation. And as we know, the U.S. is the only country that many DACA recipients know, and they are proud and grateful to be here. It is with horror that we even contemplate their forced return to other countries, to places that have no meaning for them.

“Finally, the rescission of DACA is clearly against our country’s economic self-interest. Studies show that forcing recipients out of the American workforce will cost our economy more than $460 million in gross domestic product, decrease Social Security and Medicare contributions by more than $24 billion over the next decade, and burden employers with workforce turnover costs estimated at much more than $3 billion.

“DACA’s protections are consistent with our democracy and the shared values we hold dear as Americans. We expect that both Democrats and Republicans in Congress will hear the call from across the nation and enshrine DACA into law.”

For more information about the rights of all workers, including undocumented immigrants, please watch “Know Your Rights: Immigrant Workers” on our website and read our fact sheets on a variety of related legal topics.

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