Fri | Jun 9, 2023

NY Attorney General fights to protect DACA for Caribbean immigrants

Published:Tuesday | March 14, 2023 | 7:38 PM
People rally outside the Capitol in support of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), during a demonstration on Capitol Hill in Washington, on Thursday, October 6. - AP photo.

NEW YORK, CMC – New York Attorney General, Letitia James, has co-led a coalition of 22 attorneys general in pushing back against the ongoing effort by Texas to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) programme for Caribbean and other immigrants.

In the amicus brief filed before the US District Court for the Southern District of Texas, the coalition asserts the “critical importance” of DACA for states across the country and the hundreds of thousands of Dreamers and their families who depend on the programme.

The action is part of James' ongoing effort to protect DACA, including her defence of the programme in the US Supreme Court.

According to the National Immigration Forum (NIF), a Dreamer is an undocumented immigrant who came to the United States as a child.

It said DACA is a deferred action policy implemented by the Obama administration policy in June 2012 that is aimed at protecting Dreamers.

NIF said DACA is not lawful status nor does it provides the opportunity for Dreamers to stay permanently, but temporarily shields Dreamers from deportation and provides them work authorisation with possible renewal every two years.

There are as many as 3.6 million Dreamers residing in the United States, but only about 610,000 of them are currently protected under DACA, NIF said, adding that the average DACA recipient arrived in the United States at age seven and has lived here for more than 20 years.

“Every American, no matter their immigration status, deserves a chance to achieve the American Dream. For thousands of New Yorkers who have known no other home than our welcoming state, DACA has meant they are able to stay with us and contribute to our communities,” James said.

“When other states try to tear down this successful programme, they are trying to rip families apart and remove New Yorkers from our state, and that I will not allow. I will continue to fight for all New Yorkers, and I am proud to lead my colleague attorneys general in this must-win effort,” she added.

The New York Attorney General said DACA has allowed recipients to live, study, and work across the United States free from the fear of being forcibly separated from their families and communities.

Since 2012, she said more than 825,000 young immigrants have been granted DACA protections after completing applications and passing a background check, including nearly 41,000 New Yorkers.

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