FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Legal Director, Immigrant Advocacy Program
703-720-5605 / email@example.com
LAJC calls for assistance to help eligible Virginians file DACA renewals by October 5th.
Legal Aid Justice Center is saddened and angered by the President’s decision today to cancel the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. This decision was entirely unneccessary, as DACA’s legality and constitutionality were never seriously in doubt. To the contrary — as Attorney General Jeff Sessions made clear in his remarks by tying the cancellation of DACA to the proposed RAISE Act — today’s decision is part of the administration’s overall efforts to reduce legal immigration to the United States, which in turn reflects a racist hostility to this nation’s increasing diversity.
When Virginia immigrant families suffer, our whole Commonwealth suffers. DACA was the ultimate “hand-up instead of a hand-out,” enabling families to lift themselves out of poverty through education and employment. Out of the 12,134 DACA recipients in Virginia, an estimated 10,557 are contributing members of the labor force, and 1,280 of them were enrolled at Virginia public colleges and universities last year. Many have now graduated from college and are fueling our tech and hospitality industries statewide. Now, the President’s cancellation of DACA will cost Virginia taxpayers more than $711.4 million annually in lost GDP, lead to more detentions and deportations of beloved members of our community, and further marginalize communities that already live in fear.
DREAMers, DACA students, immigrant youth and their families are our neighbors, peers, colleagues, community leaders and friends. They are Americans in every way but on paper, and they are part of what makes America great. Now more than ever, it is clear that this President’s deportation machine indiscriminately targets all immigrants, regardless of their strong ties to the community or lack of a criminal record. Virginia cities and counties, our sheriffs and police and prosecutors, need to get out of the business of helping ICE enforce immigration laws. Our local elected officials and law enforcement officers should not play any part in a system that unfairly targets immigrant children who were brought here at young ages, and then uproots them from their communities to deport them back to countries that they hardly remember.
Legal Aid Justice Center has long demonstrated our commitment to Virginia’s DREAMers. We have marched in the streets and lobbied the halls of Congress and the General Assembly seeking legal protection and equal access to education for immigrant students. When DACA was enacted, we held countless workshops to educate the community about their rights under this new program, and helped hundreds of individuals sign up, including handling some of the most difficult cases. And when DACA students could not obtain in-state tuition at Virginia colleges and universities, we filed a lawsuit that ultimately helped pressure the Attorney General’s office to issue an opinion opening the college doors to DACA students.
Our commitment to Virginia’s immigrant youth and their families remains unwavering. We will help those individuals still eligible to renew their DACA with workshops, clinics and videos. We will help individual DACA clients to find other avenues to legal status where possible, and defend them if the federal government seeks to put them in deportation proceedings. And we will continue to advocate for state laws and policies, such as in-state tuition and drivers’ licenses, that seek to mitigate the harm done by the President today.
ACTION ITEM: As the administration announced today, some one-quarter of DACA recipients—about 2,700 people statewide in Virginia, and nearly 200,000 people nationwide—have only one month in which to file their final renewal application. We need your support to meet this pressing demand. If you are able to volunteer at one of our offices in Falls Church, Richmond or Charlottesville, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Or, if you are able to donate, please click here.
About Legal Aid Justice Center:
The Legal Aid Justice Center (LAJC) fights injustice in the lives of individual Virginians while rooting out the inequities that keep people in poverty through litigation, policy advocacy, and community organizing. LAJC’s Immigration Advocacy Program supports low-income immigrants in their efforts to find justice and fair treatment.
What DACA recipients need to know about today's announcement:
Posted by Legal Aid Justice Center on Tuesday, September 5, 2017