(Milwaukee, Wisconsin) — Voces de la Frontera Action issued the following statements in response to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) memo on the full reinstatement of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which enables an estimated 1 million eligible young immigrants to apply for the program starting today, Monday December 7th 2020.

Christine Neumann-Ortiz, Executive Director of Voces de la Frontera Action, said:

“Friday’s federal judge ruling to fully reinstate DACA represents an important milestone in the immigration rights movement. The notion of immigrant children being punished and deported to countries they do not know, when their home is here, is cruel and ethically immoral. Friday’s ruling is a credit to decades of bottom-up grassroots organizing.”

Joceline Rocha, 18, is a VDLFA member and vocera in Milwaukee, and is now able to apply for DACA status thanks to Friday’s ruling. She is a senior at Reagan High School and is applying to colleges now. She said:

“This is completely life-changing. Now I can apply to different scholarships that I was not able to apply to before, because I did not have a social security number. Now I can get a driver’s license and not be afraid of getting pulled over and deported every time I drive. And now I no longer have the fear of me and my family being separated, because I am protected by DACA.”

Luis Tapia, 19, is a VDLFA member and vocero in Racine who likewise will be able to apply for DACA because of Friday’s ruling. He graduated from Horlick High School in 2019 and plans to apply for college, if he is granted DACA status. He said:

“I have many mixed emotions about this. I have tried to apply to DACA twice in the past, once in 2017 and once earlier this year, but both times the program was rescinded before I was able to apply. That was very difficult. If I am able to apply this time, it will be really quite helpful not only for myself but for my entire family. My two older brothers can apply as well, and it will help out my parents, and we will have a better life here, where we have been living for 19 years. Attending college, that would be one of the greatest things to happen, to go to college and study something interesting and find a life that suits me.”

Most recently, Voces de la Frontera Action emphasized the importance of restoring DACA in the lead-up to the 2020 presidential elections. Throughout our GOTV efforts, DACAmented and undocumented individuals worked tirelessly to register eligible voters they know to help elect President Elect Biden, who promised to restore DACA. The historic turnout of 74% eligible Latinx voters in Wisconsin (sources: Pew Research Center and Latino Decisions), of which 77% voted for Biden (source: 2020 American Election Eve Poll), was fueled by Biden’s platform on immigration and inclusive pandemic relief.  Since the court decision, President Elect Biden has publicly committed to fight for the Dream Act and a broader  immigration reform bill in Congress.

Neumann-Ortiz concluded:

“While we celebrate Friday’s ruling, we have always said that DACA is a temporary protection. As we near the inauguration of President Elect Joe Biden and the 117th US Congress, we are calling on the community and voters who participated in these historic elections to join us the week of December 14th in a national kick off campaign called “Freedom Together: Citizenship, Relief, & Recovery.” This campaign will put pressure on the US Congress & the incoming Biden Administration to realize these demands and build greater unity in our country. We will continue to organize until our demands are met.”

Voces de la Frontera will be hosting online information sessions and legal clinics to assist families with renewing DACA applications or applying for the first time. For more information on these sessions and clinics, or for other assistance in relation to the new DACA ruling, please call the Voces de la Frontera Legal Clinic at 414-643-1620.

For more information, please reach out to Communications Director Jacquelyn Kovarik: 414-436-9822 and [email protected].

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