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Home / Press Release / DACA Termination Cruel, Unnecessary, and Counterproductive to American Interests
September 05, 2017

DACA Termination Cruel, Unnecessary, and Counterproductive to American Interests

Washington, D.C.—Human Rights First today condemned the Trump Administration’s decision to rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which will upend the lives of more the 800,000 young people and their families. Human Rights First urges Congress to act immediately to allow these individuals to remain in the United States legally. 

“Ending the DACA program is unnecessary, cruel, and counterproductive to American interests. It squanders what has been one of America’s strongest assets: that people are drawn to our country by the promise of freedom and opportunity,” said Human Rights First’s President and CEO Elisa Massimino. “This is personal for us and for many Americans; DACA recipients are our coworkers, our clients’ relatives, our neighbors, and our children’s classmates. They are part of the fabric of our country. The decision to end the humanitarian program protecting them is a cruel betrayal of their trust in the U.S. government and needlessly divests our country of immense talent, hard work, and ingenuity. Ending DACA is the ultimate lose-lose proposition for America.” 

The DACA program, implemented by President Obama, allowed individuals who entered the United States illegally as children to receive protection from deportation by registering for a two-year legal status. Without DACA, more than 800,000 recipients will no longer be allowed to work legally in the United States and will be subject to deportation. 

Human Rights First notes today’s announcement creates a new traumatic experience for not only DACA recipients but also for their families, including those who have fled persecution and seek asylum here. Individuals who seek asylum are required to wait six months for employment authorization and frequently rely on DACA recipient family members in the interim to serve as primary breadwinners for the family. DACA recipients help recently-arrived family members adjust and navigate our complex asylum system. Additionally, under U.S. law, asylum seekers cannot include adult children over the age of 21 in their applications. Many asylum seekers have children in the United States who are adult DACA recipients; they now face the agonizing experience of the deportation of a child back to the country they fled.  

“Human Rights First operates one of the nation’s largest pro bono asylum representation programs. We know firsthand that for thousands of asylum-seekers, DACA recipients are their only lifeline in the United States,” added Massimino. “With the termination of the DACA program, families that have already faced the trauma of persecution in their home countries will now be re-traumatized when faced with losing family members to deportation.”  

For more information or to speak with Massimino, contact Corinne Duffy at DuffyC@humanrightsfirst.org or 202-370-3319.