Utah Democrats Welcome DACA Ruling, Urge DHS to Keep Program

Media Statement

For Immediate Release: 
April 26, 2018

Ross Chambless
Utah House Democratic Caucus
(801) 326-1568 | rosschambless@le.utah.gov

Jon Hennington
Utah State Senate
801-214-4611 | jhennington@le.utah.gov

Utah Democrats Welcome DACA Ruling, Urge DHS to Keep Program

SALT LAKE CITY – Democrats in the Utah House and Senate welcomed U.S. District Judge John Bates’ decision earlier this week giving the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) 90 days to provide the legal rationale behind the Trump Administration’s decision to cancel the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. This is the third federal judge that rebukes the Administration’s attempt to end DACA but the first to order DHS to accept new applications. It is also the first judge appointed by a Republican president to issue such a ruling, which underscores the bipartisan consensus on the legality of the DACA program.

More than 10,500 young undocumented immigrants living in Utah are able to legally attend school or hold employment because of the DACA program. Across the U.S. there are more than 800,000 DACA recipients, however there may be as many as 3.6 million DREAMers – young people brought to the U.S. as children, according to Migration Policy Institute. 

“This decision shows again that this administration was clearly wrong in trying to end DACA, which is critically important for so many young people in Utah,” said Representative Angela Romero, Salt Lake City, District 26. “The DREAMers living among us are some of our best and brightest, and yet they have no legal pathway to citizenship. Our representatives in Congress need to get serious and address comprehensive immigration reform now.”

“Most Utahns, and that includes most Conservatives, support giving DACA youth a legal route to citizenship,” said Senator Luz Escamilla, District 1. “This decision may ease some anxiety for these young people, but I know they all want off this rollercoaster.  Congress and the Administration need to see this decision as a signal that the only proper action now to take is to pass immigration reform legislation.”         

Representative Romero and Senator Escamilla are both members of the National Hispanic Caucus of State Legislators (NHCSL), which represents the voices of more than 400 Hispanic state legislators from across the country, US Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico, which also celebrated the court decision and warned the Administration not to terminate the program until a permanent solution is enacted by Congress and signed into law.

“They say that the third time is the charm and we hope that the Administration finally listens to both reason and the courts who are all saying that there is no legal justification for cancelling the DACA program. This decision is significant because the judge did not disagree with the Administration’s legal basis, he said that they did not even present any legal basis for their actions. We are also pleased that DACA recipients can once again start applying to renew their permits. Given the stakes of this decision and its impact on hundreds of thousands of young Americans – individuals who are indeed Americans in everything but a piece of paper – we urge the Administration not to terminate the DACA program until Congress passes the DREAM Act and ends the uncertainty facing DREAMers once and for all,” NHCSL President and Senator Carmelo Ríos (PR) said.

NHCSL recently approved an emergency resolution regarding DACA and the DREAMers, during the group’s annual Summit in Chicago, IL in February. The resolution states that: “…the National Hispanic Caucus of State Legislators urges Congress to take action with no further delay to stop the uncertainty with which thousands of families are living regarding DACA preferably by granting that pathway to citizenship or, at least, by extending DACA while a deal can be reached that creates that pathway…”