LocationLos Angeles , CA United States
Los Angeles-area DACA recipients vowed to fight for immigration reform, after Tuesday’s announcement that President Trump would end the program that protects them from deportation.
Several beneficiaries of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program stood with immigration advocates from Asian Americans Advancing Justice to outline what Trump’s announcement means, and to offer services for those who are currently in the program.
“There are opportunities for any immigrant regardless of legal status, with or without DACA,” said Iliana Perez, a 29-year-old DACA recipient who was able to pursue a PhD because of the program.
Betty Hung, AAAJ’s policy director, said that helping DACA recipients, known also as Dreamers, meant pushing for immigration reform on the state and national levels. “We cannot allow what happened with the Chinese Exclusion Act, which took 61 years to be repealed, to happen again,” she said.
The DACA program protects certain undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States as children from deportation and allows them to legally work in the United States. Since President Obama started the program in 2012, 800,000 Dreamers have been accepted.
President Trump said that he would give Congress six months to come up with a legislative replacement for DACA, before phasing out the program.
AAAJ officials took care to clarify that those in the program were still protected until their deferred status and work authorization expires. Those whose work permits expire between Sept. 5, 2017 and March 5, 2018 could apply to renew them before Oct. 5, 2017. AAAJ announced free DACA renewal workshops every Thursday for the rest of September, and will start screening immigrants for other forms of immigration relief after Oct. 5.
Iliana Perez spoke at the press conference about the option to become an independent contractor. This was how she navigated the workforce in the United States before she becoming a DACA recipient in 2013.
AAAJ also called for state legislative support of SB 54, of the California Values Act, which would limit state and local police cooperation with ICE, and AB 699, which would bar ICE from stepping out California public schools campuses without permission.
To schedule an appointment for AAAJ’s DACA renewal workshops, please call one of their in-language intake lines: