LANSING — Members of the Michigan Latino Legislative Caucus sent a letter to Michigan’s senators and members of Congress this week, asking them to pass federal legislation that will replace the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Thirteen caucus members, comprising those who identify as Latino and their allies, signed the letter.

“DACA has been a popular, successful program for young people who came to this country through no choice or fault of their own,” said state Rep. Vanessa Guerra (D-Saginaw), who signed on to the letter. “Many of them have known no other home besides the United States, and it’s wrong to remove the protections that allow them to contribute positively to our society.”

More than 6,000 Dreamers reside in Michigan out of the roughly 800,000 nationwide. If these hardworking members of communities throughout the state were deported, Michigan’s GDP would stand to fall by hundreds of millions of dollars. To protect Dreamers in Michigan and across the nation, the caucus members are urging Congress to pass the DREAM Act or the American Hope Act.

“DACA recipients’ stories embody the American Dream. These are young people who have studied and worked hard, played by the rules, and made tremendous sacrifices to stay in the United States,” said state Rep. Darrin Camilleri (D-Brownstown Township), another caucus member who signed the letter. “It would be cynical and short-sighted to subject these young people to deportation, and that’s why we’re urging members of Congress to act quickly.”

Earlier this month, the Trump administration announced its plan to end the DACA program in six months. The policy allowed individuals who came to the U.S. before their 16th birthday to obtain temporary, renewable permits to legally remain in America to work, study or serve in the military. Participants have to pass a criminal background check and remain in good legal standing to retain their documentation.