This week, all 50 members of the Washington state House Democratic Caucus sent a letter to Speaker Ryan and Majority Leader McConnell requesting that Congress take action in response to President Trump’s decision to rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.
Washington state is home for nearly 18,000 young people who are able to contribute to the state’s economy, workforce and communities, in part due to their eligibility under the DACA program. These “Dreamers” now face an uncertain future without congressional action.
The letter requests an immediate freeze of deportations of DACA recipients while Congress considers a more thorough overhaul of the current immigration system. You can view the full letter here or read the text below.
Dear Mr. Speaker and Mr. Leader:
We, the undersigned Washington State Representatives, ask that you take immediate action to ensure that the nearly 18,000 young people in Washington who are beneficiaries of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA) program are able to remain in our state and continue contributing to our economy.
The president’s decision to rescind the DACA program is already causing harm and uncertainty to the young people directly affected and to our state as a whole. College students are concerned they will not be able to graduate; recent graduates just starting their careers are not sure what the future holds; and young people who have been in this country for much of their lives are worried about being deported to countries that are completely unfamiliar to them.
We stand with these “Dreamers,” who arrived in this country as children and for whom the United States is the only home they know. Their roots are here in our communities where they attend school, hold legal employment in agriculture, skilled labor, and professional positions in our tight labor market, as well as serve honorably in our military.
Instead of ripping families apart and denying young people the opportunity to participate fully in the American Dream, we should be working on ways to fully integrate DACA recipients into our society with the proper legal protections. That’s why the Washington State Legislature, on a strong bipartisan basis, passed the Washington DREAM Act in 2014. This landmark legislation paved the way to higher education for young people aspiring to a college education but unable to afford it. Over 1800 students received state financial aid in 2016-17 thanks to the Washington DREAM Act.
We urge Congress to codify DACA, freeze deportations of DACA recipients during this process, and overhaul our nation’s broken immigration system. These specific actions will give those who have grown up in our country some stability while Congress carefully considers long-term legislative solutions.