(Milwaukee, WI) – Yesterday, Judge Hanen of Texas ruled to partially end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, halting any new DACA applications from being approved while only permitting current recipients to renew their status.  This ruling is a part of a cruel, far-right Republcan anti-immigrant agenda aimed at ending the DACA program and any of the limited protections that remain for immigrant essential workers and families.

DACA provides partial protections for immigrants brought to the US as children, protecting them from deportation and family separation and allowing them to get a work permit. Over 600,000 Dreamers are enrolled in the program nationally, with nearly 6,540 young people in Wisconsin currently in the program. An estimated 20,000 Dreamers are eligible to receive DACA status in Wisconsin.

Many immigrant high school and college students, parents and essential workers have been waiting months for their applications to be approved after the government reopened the process for new applicants in December 2020. Those young people, who’ve called the US their home since they were children, are now at risk of deportation, family separation and are unable to get a job and provide for their families.

Voces de la Frontera and the grassroots movement for immigrant rights nationally has been organizing for inclusive and comprehensive immigration reform with a pathway to citizenship for Dreamers, TPS holders and essential workers for decades.

Earlier this week, Senate Democrats released Biden’s Jobs Budget Bill that includes funding for a permanent pathway to citizenship for millions of immigrants. Polls show broad bipartisan support nationally for immigration reform – including from a majority of Republicans, Democrats and independents – and immigrant rights advocates are urging President Biden and Democrats in Congress to do everything in their power to pass Citizenship For All this year.

Christine Neumann-Ortiz, Executive Director of Voces de la Frontera, said, “Despite the fact that immigration reform with a pathway to citizenship has broad public support across the political spectrum, far-right Republicans in Congress with ties to white nationalist groups are using prejudiced judges to continue their attacks on immigrant youth, workers and their families. DACA was never a permanent solution for immigrant youth. Until Democrats take action against the reactionary rightwing’s attempts to derail the program, it will continue to be under attack. Congressional Democrats must stand firm and deliver on their promise for historic immigration reform through the budget reconciliation package that is long overdue.”

Brayan Reyes- Martinez, a 17 year-old high school student and DACA applicant from Green Bay, who is no longer eligible for the DACA program under this ruling, said, “my dreams of getting a job after I graduate to help my parents who’ve worked long hours and sacrificed so much as essential workers during this pandemic have been ruined, all because of this one conservative judge in Texas. We need President Biden and Democrats in Congress to take action this year to provide a permanent solution for Dreamers like me, and for my family.”

Reyes is an active member of Voces de la Frontera and recently completed a 9-day, 90+ mile march from Milwaukee to Madison with his two younger brothers in June to call on President Biden and Democrats in Congress to pass Citizenship For All.

Voces de la Frontera is hosting immigration forums throughout the state with immigration attorneys. These forums will inform and continue to engage the community on recent changes to DACA, U-Visas and deportations, as well as ensure that Citizenship For All remains a priority for Democrats in the reconciliation process. Democratic elected officials are invited to attend.

The first forum will take place in Milwaukee on Saturday, July 24, at 1pm at the new Voces office located at 733 W. Historic Mitchell St., and will also be broadcast live on our Facebook page. The other forums are on Sunday, July 25 at 1pm in Green Bay and Madison, and will also be  broadcast live on our Facebook page. Press are invited to attend these in-person events.

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