FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, March 27, 2020
José Alonso Muñoz | firstname.lastname@example.org | 202.810.0746
Yatziri Tovar | yatziri.tovar@maketheroadny.
Claudia Montecinos | cmontecinos@americanprogress.
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Douglas Rivlin | firstname.lastname@example.org | 202.441.0680
Home Is Here Coalition Asks Supreme Court to Side with DACA Recipients During COVID-19 Global Pandemic
The DACA cases now before the Supreme Court involve the futures of 700,000 people, their 256,000 U.S. citizen children, and the nation’s health and wellbeing.
Washington, D.C. – Today, plaintiffs in one of the cases challenging the Trump Administration’s termination of DACA filed a letter with the Supreme Court asking them to consider the real-world consequences of the COVID-19 global health crisis for more than 700,000 DACA recipients and their families – including their 256,000 U.S. citizen children. The letter argues that if the Court upholds Trump’s termination of DACA and deprives 700,000 people of their deportation protections, their jobs and therefore their healthcare, that it would wreak havoc on an already fragile health care system.
The Home is Here coalition members are already seeing the devastating effect this deadly pandemic is having on DACA recipients and their loved ones. The Supreme Court has a responsibility to consider the new circumstances that now includes the closure of USCIS offices, which could delay essential renewals as DACA recipients need to go to these offices in person to have their biometrics taken. This new unknown has caused a ripple effect that compounds anxieties around the real threat of deportations, financial instability, education, access to health care and treatment, and caretaking of their loved ones. These basic human rights are at stake during an unprecedented public health crisis that will jeopardize immigrant youth who are doctors, nurses, grocery store workers, child care providers, cleaners, business owners, and other first responders.
In the past, litigants have filed letters to the Court to advise the Court of important events following
oral arguments, including newly available factual information that may have an impact on the resolution of the merits of the case. One such example was in Dep’t of Commerce v. New York, No. 18-966, which led to a decision from the Court that kept the citizenship question off the 2020 Census.
Eliana Fernandez, plaintiff in Wolf v. Batalla Vidal, and Lead Organizer with Make the Road New York, said:
“The COVID-19 pandemic is devastating our communities, and immigrants like me with DACA are frantically working to support our families and communities, all while trying to keep our loved ones safe and healthy. At the community organization where I work, I am working each day to provide support to thousands of our members who are being hit hardest by this crisis. We urge the Court to consider that a decision to take away DACA from us at this moment would be catastrophic, putting us and our families at grave risk.”
Greisa Martinez Rosas, DACA recipient and Deputy Executive Director of United We Dream, said:
“DACA recipients and our families face imminent danger. The threat of deportation at the hands of Trump’s deportation force compounded with the rapid spread of COVID-19 has drastically exacerbated the negative consequences of 700,000 immigrant youth potentially losing protection from deportation and work authorization. Undocumented immigrants, including DACA recipients, are the janitors, health care workers, grocery store workers, business owners, teachers, restaurant workers, and others working tirelessly on the frontlines to keep us moving in this difficut time. It is imperative for the Supreme Court to consider these new conditions, not add more chaos into our lives. We call on the Supreme Court to side with DACA recipients because our lives are at stake.”
Jung Woo Kim, DACA recipient and Organizing Director of NAKASEC, said:
“In this time of growing economic crisis, our families and communities are even more dependent on our ability to work. Removing the DACA program at this time would further and deepen the trauma communities across the nation are experiencing. As the United States is now the country with the highest number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the world, the Supreme Court has a responsibility to take into consideration the moment we are in, and rule with DACA recipients for the good of the country.”
Jonathan Magdalena, RN with DACA and CHIRLA member in Los Angeles, said:
“As an ICU nurse, I am seeing what this COVID-19 crisis is doing to the people of this country first-hand. We are working 12-hour shifts to tend to all the COVID-possible patients, often with very little protective gear. This is my dream job, and I am glad to be on the front lines of the nation’s response to this pandemic. But at a time when the country is asking retired army doctors and other offline personnel to step up to help with this emergency, I worry that any day now, the Supreme Court might decide against me on the DACA case, cutting off one more resource to deal with this threat to our country and to the entire world. There are many people with DACA working in our hospitals and health centers. We are essential workers. Let us help heal this nation.”
Giovana Oaxaca Najera, DACA recipient and Government Relations Associate of NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice said:
“In the midst of a national emergency, and at a time when so little is certain about the scale of the public health crisis, a decision on DACA now would be incomprehensible and immoral. It would jeopardize the life and livelihood of not just DACA recipients, but communities all over. The crisis has brought into sharp relief the inequities in access to healthcare and assistance available to marginalized communities, and especially immigrants. The Supreme Court must take into consideration the full repercussions and consequences of a decision at this time.”
Itzel Hernandez, DACA recipient and immigrant rights organizer for American Friends Service Committee, said:
“As a DACA recipient, my community is hanging on to the protection and stability that DACA provides. The Coronavirus pandemic has raised those stakes even higher—the very lives of DACA recipients like me and their families rest on what the Court decides. The Supreme Court should not issue a decision in such uncertain times and when they issue a decision, the courts should side with the thousands of DACA recipients working to keep our communities safe during this pandemic. We are calling on President Trump to use his executive power to stop the deportation of DACA recipients and undocumented young Americans and instead extend DACA renewals. DACA is more than a work permit. It is a protection from deadly detention and deportation systems and has helped keep families and communities together.”
Tom Jawetz, Vice President of Immigration Policy of Center for American Progress, said:
“The COVID-19 pandemic is a sobering reminder that we are all in this together. In recent days, we have seen governors clear the way for retired medical professionals, foreign-educated doctors in the United States, and current medical students to get off the sidelines and put their skills to work fighting this virus. Meanwhile, the Trump administration and the Department of Homeland Security are driving ahead with their efforts to make a bad situation infinitely worse by ending DACA and stripping deportation protections and work authorization from nearly 700,000 recipients, 27,000 of whom are working in health care and related occupations right now. What more evidence does the Supreme Court need to see that the administration woefully failed to consider the consequences of terminating this important initiative?”
Paola Fuentes Gleghorn, Immigration and Women and Girls Campaign Coordinator of Sojourners, said:
“If the Supreme Court justices uphold the Trump administration’s decision to end DACA, they would be endangering the lives and futures of over 700,000 DACA recipients, their families, and our communities as a whole, especially during the unprecedented public health crisis of the COVID-19 global pandemic. As people of faith, we oppose all decisions which degrade the image of God, destroy families, and threaten lives. We ask that the Supreme Court consider the extenuating circumstances of COVID-19, and reject the administration’s decision to end DACA. This is a moral issue with the potential to affect every person in our country. This pandemic has shown us that our health and future depend on the well-being of our neighbor. At this moment, the well-being of our DACAmented siblings is at stake, and through them, all of ours.”
Sergio Gonzales, Deputy Director of the Immigration Hub, said:
“While millions of families are attempting to regain a sense of normalcy during this public health crisis, the Trump administration is running a ‘business as usual’ approach to immigration enforcement operations. This includes officials like Stephen Miller and Ken Cuccinelli openly planning for the deportation of DACA recipients, should the Supreme Court rule in their favor. The high court must take into consideration the complete scope of consequences of their ruling in light of this new reality, including the fact that the termination of DACA could dramatically impact our country’s ability to respond to COVID-19. We cannot afford for hundreds of thousands of DACA recipients, including 27,000 healthcare practitioners, to lose their freedom to live and work without the threat of deportation.”
Sister Simone Campbell, SSS, Executive Director of NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice said:
“My Catholic faith teaches that we must protect the vulnerable. For the Supreme Court to even consider business as usual during this health crisis is dangerous. This is especially true of the DACA decision, which could have immeasurable consequences for millions of our immigrant neighbors. The Justices must suspend releasing decisions until the nation is in a stable place.”
Karen Tumlin, Founder & Director, Justice Action Center, said:
“The COVID-19 pandemic requires a unified community response—one that includes nearly 30,000 DACA recipients who are on the frontlines of this battle as healthcare workers and countless more serving in other essential roles. As many DACA recipients risk their lives to protect the health of their communities, the last thing they should have to worry about is whether they will be ripped from their jobs and deported. It’s vital that any decision in this case fully consider DACA recipients’ role in our pandemic response.”
Laura M. Esquivel, Vice President, Federal Policy and Advocacy with Hispanic Federation, said:
“Hispanic Federation respectfully requests the U.S. Supreme Court consider the devastating impact that termination of the DACA program would have on the nation. We are already seeing the devastating impact of the pandemic in all of our lives, and a decision to uphold the Trump administration’s termination of DACA would compound the national crisis. Undocumented immigrants and DACA-authorized workers are on the frontlines of the battle against the global pandemic, doing everything from providing healthcare to ensuring the regular flow of our agricultural food supply. Further destabilization of their lives would hurt them, their families and communities, and our entire country. We urge the Court to postpone announcing any decision that creates more instability at a time our country can least afford it.”
Donna Norton, Executive Vice President of MomsRising, said:
“As communities across the country focus on keeping each other safe, many DACA recipients are the doctors, nurses, first responders, grocery store clerks and community organizers we turn to for stability. It is crucial the Supreme Court acknowledge this and their key roles in our communities, providing them with the critical protections now more urgent than ever before. Ripping DACA protections away from millions of recipients, not only puts their well-being at risk, but also the fate of those they serve. The moms of America ask the Supreme Court to prioritize our safety as a nation and stand with DACA recipients and their families.”
Megan Sheffield, Immigration Project Director of Equal Justice Center, said:
“Over the last eight years, the DACA program has enabled DACA recipients to become critical contributors to our economic and social community – including roles as first responders, health care providers, and front line social service workers. The current crisis reminds us that we are all in this together as Americans. Especially now, we cannot afford to dis-employ and exclude these young vital contributors to our collective well-being.”
Pili Tobar, Deputy Director of America’s Voice, said:
“There would never be a good time to rule against DACA recipients being able to live and work in the United States, but you could hardly think of a worse time for the Court to take any action to kill the program than now. With American communities already fearing COVID-19, with immigrant families afraid to come forward for testing and treatment and with millions of Americans already out of work, taking DACA away would only add more uncertainty and further hurt our economy and preparedness for COVID-19. DACA recipients are on the frontlines of the response to this health crisis, at least 27,000 DACA recipients are in the healthcare field, and many more immigrants — including DACA recipients — are helping to supply food and groceries to our towns and cities, and working in the technology sector that is allowing millions to work remotely. At every level and in every state, DACA recipients and other American workers are critical to address this pandemic.”
José González, Senior Managing Director of Teach For America’s DACA Initiative, said:
“Teach For America has had the privilege of welcoming and supporting nearly 300 DACA recipients into our program and witnessing the far-reaching impact they have had in classrooms and communities across the country. In addition to our members, there are an estimated 9,000 DACAmented educators in schools across our nation. The most recent USCIS report on active DACA recipients shows more than 100,000 DACA protections and Employment Authorization Documents are set to expire March through June of this year, roughly within the 90-day window the USCIS announcement suggests it could take DACA recipients to receive a new biometrics appointment date. Many of these cases are those of our children’s teachers. As educators across the country demonstrate great resolve and commitment to their students and communities during these increasingly uncertain times, it is this country’s responsibility to protect them and enable them to continue providing a semblance of normalcy and the critical stability students and families need at this time.”
Trinidad Ariztia, Program Director for Migration Policy, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, said:
“The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), has a long history of standing alongside migrants and refugees. Every day we see the gifts that Dreamers and their families bring to our congregations and communities.”
The Home Is Here national coalition is fighting to protect DACA recipients, their families, and all immigrant communities at the U.S. Supreme Court. DACA recipients are undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as children. They are also our nurses, our teachers, our coworkers, our family members, and our friends — and their home is here. For more information visit HomeIsHere.Us