Legislation in the U.S. Senate would put DACA protections into law
LANSING, Mich., June 16, 2021 — State Reps. Mary Cavanagh (D-Redford), chair of the Michigan Legislative Latino Caucus, and Darrin Camilleri (D-Trenton), caucus vice chair, held a press conference today to call on Congress to pass the Dream Act of 2021 and help protect aspiring citizens continue to live and work in this country. This legislation would codify the protections of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) into federal law.
“Currently, DACA is the only protection that people who were brought to America as children have, and yet, there is a court case seeking to strike it down,” Cavanagh said. “Plainly, immigrant youth are not disposable or a negotiation chip but an integral part of who we are as Americans. Dreamers deserve better than living in fear and uncertainty. The time for Congress to act is now.”
“I have called Michigan home since age 5. This is our home. We work here, pay taxes here, go to school here, this is our community.” said Daniel Caracheo Teniente, a Dreamer whose parents brought him from Mexico to Grand Rapids in 2005. “Immigrants are essential and deserve citizenship, and after the pandemic, the Dream Act is the least that Congress can do. We will continue to fight for justice for all undocumented people.”
Immigrants have been foundational to the American story, where the average age of a Dreamer brought to the U.S. is 6 years old, and they have been in the United States for an average of 22 years. Dreamers are economic multipliers contributing to the economy by working, paying taxes, shopping at local businesses or starting their own company. Estimates show that passing the Dream Act would increase this contribution by over $1 trillion.
“Giving Dreamers full legal protection and a path to citizenship is simply the right thing to do,” Camilleri said. “As the son and grandson of immigrants, I’ve seen the power of the American Dream first-hand. Congress can extend that opportunity to hundreds of thousands of people by passing the Dream Act today. Let’s get it done.”
“We have immigrant organizers to thank for DACA, but it was conceived as a stepping stone to a robust path to full legal status,” said Yvonne Navarrete, another Michigan Dreamer. “DACA protections don’t cover everyone, and the millions of people in this country deserve the chance to earn their citizenship.”
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