The Fight Continues For DACA Recipients

Dec 2, 2019

Credit New Mexico Congressman Ben Ray Luján

The fate of nearly 700,000 DACA recipients is in the hands of the U.S. Supreme Court. 

Brought to the U.S. as children, they are in the U.S. legally thanks to DACA, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program started by President Obama.

The court must now decide if President Trump had the right to end the program.  

When the Supreme Court was hearing the case in November, Democrats held an event flanked by DACA recipients from across the country.

Senator Bob Menendez provided some history.  Noting that the Senate long ago passed immigration reform that would have permanently protected DACA recipients.  Then House Speaker John Boehner never allowed a vote.

“When we passed as the Gang of Eight comprehensive immigration reform in the Senate with 67 votes, only to die in the then Repubilcan-controlled House of Reperesentatives, we had the best Dreamer package that every was envisioned.  It would have given all of these young people their pathway to a clear future and on behalf of the United States.  Unfortunately, it never got a vote.  I sat in the White House when President Trump said 'I want to treat these young people with love.'  Well, love like that we don't need.  Because at the end of the day, when you ended the program, not the court, when you (Trump) ended the program, and when you started on a pathway that puts all of these young people at risk, then...that's not love," said Menendez.

New Mexico Congressman Ben Ray Luján also referenced President Trump and his advisor Stephen Miller, raising concerns that go far beyond DACA.

"The President said he was going to treat our brothers and sisters, the Dreamers, with heart.  The cruelness that we continue to see coming from this administration, the hateful rhetoric and policies coming from Stephen Miller, they're not American.  It lacks the moral compass of what America was founded on.  This dream...this delicate idea that we could come from all over the world and contribute to this special place.  Building opportunity...looking after our families and our loved ones...opening up doors for future generations behind us.  That's what Dreamers represent," said  Luján.

Credit Dellara Gorjian /

Dellara Gorjian is one of those Dreamers and a  DACA recipient.  She referenced a Washington Post-ABC News poll that found 86 percent support for allowing DACA recipients and those eligible to stay in the country.

"I am confused.  86 percent of Americans support a right to residency for DACA recipients.  86 percent of Americans.  In today's America, there are very few things that have an 86 percent approval rate.  I don't even think ice cream has an 86 percent approval rate.  Yet despite an overwhelming amount of support for DACA recipients like myself, who continue to contribute to America's academia and America's economy, the Executive branch wants to take it away, the Legislative branch has yet to sign a bill, and the Judicial branch is now examining its legitimacy.  So I am genuinely confused," said Gorjian.

Congressman Ben Ray Luján talked about another DACA recipient in his closing remarks, a recent graduate of New Mexico State University.  Luján said protecting the Dreamers is about more than the courts or Congress.  It’s about the need for public action.

"Let's do the right thing.  Let's pray for the Supreme Court.  Let's pray for the country.  Let's pray for these Dreamers.  But what we need for the American people to do is something that we learned from Congressman John Lewis.  Make some noise.  Speak up.  Show up. Stand up. If you don't know a Dreamer, just open your eyes.  Get to know them.  Tell their story. And I want to close with this.  I had the honor of meeting Sam today, a dreamer from New Mexico, a recent graduate of New Mexico State University, who talked about how he can't go see his abelita, his grandma, his mom, who live just miles away from where he lives in the United States of America.  If you support family values across the country, support the Dreamers.  Open your eyes and get to know why we're in this together," said Luján.

The Supreme Court is expected to rule on the legality of President Trump’s cancellation of the DACA program next year.  In a November tweet, Trump said of DACA recipients, “If Supreme Court remedies with overturn, a deal will be made with Dems for them to stay!”