AFSCME has long stood with immigrant workers and their families, especially Dreamers, or young, undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as children and often know no other home.
At our 2018 Convention, held in Boston, AFSCME members urged Congress to stand up for Dreamers by passing the Dream Act, giving them a chance to become citizens. We also urged the Trump administration to reinstate the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program and drop its appeal of the Obama-era policy in the courts.
DACA is an immigration policy adopted in 2012 that allows young, undocumented immigrants to apply for temporary protection from deportation and work authorization. It has benefitted some 800,000 Dreamers directly, as well as countless families and communities indirectly.
Instead of dropping its DACA appeal, however, and despite losing numerous court rulings, the Trump administration has continued to challenge the policy and put it on hold. It is now up to the Supreme Court, which heard arguments in the case yesterday, to weigh the future of Dreamers.
Outside the Supreme Court, several thousand people rallied in support of immigrants as the justices heard oral arguments.
“DACA is everything. It saved my children’s lives,” Alejandra Fernández, originally from Argentina, told NBC News. She added that her children were small when they arrived "and they don't know any other place than here. The United States is everything to them."
Should the Supreme Court rule against Dreamers, the decision would amount to nothing less than a betrayal of new Americans by their government. In applying for DACA status, many young immigrants provided personal information that could in theory be used against them should they again be undocumented and unprotected.
But the consequences of a DACA repeal go beyond the harm done to Dreamers. As the Center for American Progress (CAP) points out, “The end of DACA would have immense consequences for recipients—and the country more broadly. As their DACA expires, individuals would lose both protection from deportation and their work authorization. The loss of the latter would likely have a substantial impact on the U.S. economy. Eighty-nine percent of respondents to a 2018 survey of DACA recipients were employed in workplaces across the country.”
No matter what happens, AFSCME will continue to stand with Dreamers. They are our friends, neighbors and coworkers and they make us a better nation.
As AFSCME members across the country resolved in 2018: “As long as the Trump administration and Congress refuse to take action to protect the Dreamers, AFSCME will redouble its efforts to embrace the Dreamers in our midst, and will work to educate immigrants about their rights, including those relating to interaction with law enforcement and immigration officials.”