Today, the Supreme court rejected (5-4 vote) the Trump Administration’s attempt to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. The program was established by an Obama Era executive order intended to protect a segment of immigrant youth and young adults from deportation and provide them with the ability to live, study, and work in the United States (US). This victory is rooted in years of tireless advocacy, resiliency, and strength by community leaders and advocates and reinforces that DACA recipients are a critical and essential part of our country.
There are between 690,000 and 800,000 DACA recipients in the US—Nearly half (47%) live here in California. DACA recipients make up a diverse group representing immigrants from over 158 countries, including: Mexico, El Salvador, Nigeria, South Korea, India, the Philippines, Poland and Pakistan. They are our family, friends, neighbors and work in every imaginable field—teachers, doctors, lawyers, elected officials, and essential workers. Recipients count on the program to access social security numbers and work permits. These powerful contributors to our culture and economy built entire lives and businesses around their access to this program. DACA has directly improved their family’s lives, opportunities for their communities and the betterment of this country as a whole.
This program is crucial to an often overlooked privilege: access to healthcare. In California, DACA recipients have access to state-funded Medi-Cal and the 97% of DACA recipients who are currently employed or in school receive healthcare coverage through employment sponsored insurance or college and university plans. Without preventive healthcare access, they would be pushed into costly emergency rooms and overburdened community clinics.
Furthermore, DACA recipients are strong contributors to our nation’s healthcare workforce. Nearly 43,500 DACA recipients are on the front lines as doctors, nurses, community health and emergency service providers around the country. As we continue to climb out of this current COVID-19 pandemic, DACA recipients have risked themselves to be on the frontlines.
This ruling leaves room for new applications to be filed and for opportunities like advance parole to become available again. It also leaves room for further litigation to be opened up by states or the Administration. While we are excited about this historic decision, DACA is not a permanent solution and does not currently provide lawful status or a path to citizenship. We must continue to fight to ensure our communities no longer live in fear. This means there is work left to do. La lucha sigue!
“We are not just dreamers. We are doers. We get things done. You can call us visionaries, leaders, and revolutionaries. It is by the resiliency and strength of our parents – who dared to put their lives in danger for our well being – that we now have the opportunity to revolutionize long-standing U.S systems that have perpetually limited opportunities for communities of color. We will continue to fight for justice and not just for us, but for our families, communities and all who reside in the United States of America.” said Dr. Seciah Aquino, Deputy Director at the Latino Coalition for a Healthy California and DACA recipient.
“I’m grateful that I can continue to rely on the tools that have been provided to me by DACA, to continue advocating for my family and community. As I take in this breath of relief, I keep in mind that there is so much left to do. To all DACA recipients, Felicidades. You are valued, you are essential, and this is your home. Enjoy this moment and let’s use our privilege to continue uplifting our immigrant communities.” urges Robert Nunez, Policy Communications Coordinator and the Latino Coalition for Healthy California and DACA recipient.
Looking forward, LCHC is committed to standing with community and advocates from all around the State and nation to advocate for crucial next steps including:
- The automatic renewals of ALL DACA permits
- The immediate halt of information sharing of DACA recipients with ICE
- Allowing DACA recipients to apply for HUD loansLCHC PRESS STATEMENT ON GOVERNOR’S MAY REVISE BUDGET
- Stopping the continued surveillance of DACA recipients
- Securing a pathway to citizenship for all DACA, TPS recipients and the 11+ million undocumented immigrants in the US
- The halt of ALL deportations and release of all immigrants in detention centers
- Supporting and advancing the protection of Black Lives from racism and police brutality
- Defund the Police, Abolish, Defund, CPD and Abolish ICE
- Inclusion of Immigrants in COVID-19 relief
We celebrate this victory with our DACAmented family and friends. We also acknowledge that this DACA fight defended rights that had already been achieved and resulted in us going back to the status quo. We are committed to fighting for real, structural change for this nation’s immigration system and to ensure a pathway to citizenship for ALL immigrants. About LCHC: Latino Coalition for a Healthy California (LCHC)—the only statewide organization with a specific emphasis on Latino health—was founded by health care providers, consumers and advocates in 1992 to impact Latino health by focusing on policy development, providing enhanced information, and community involvement.