DACA faces ongoing challenge, and immigration advocates from AZ are calling for change

More than 30,000 DACA recipients call Arizona home, but a federal judge’s ruling earlier this week — which determined the policy protecting them from deportation is illegal — puts their future safety at risk.

On Wednesday, U.S. District Judge Andrew Hahnen sided with nine Republican-led states in an ongoing dispute against DACA, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, a program first established by former President Barack Obama in 2012 via executive order and now supported by President Joe Biden. . The Biden administration attempted to resolve Hanen’s original complaint against the program — that it was not subject to a legally mandated public comment period — by And its renewal as an administrative base With the time required for public input. But Henein remained unmoved, writing that immigration reform falls within the purview of Congress, not the president.

“Congress has decided, for any number of reasons, not to pass DACA-like legislation,” Hanen wrote. “The executive branch cannot usurp the power the Constitution grants to Congress — even to fill a vacuum.”

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While Arizona was an early opponent of DACA, with former Attorney General Mark Brnovich joins an 11-state coalition To challenge the Obama-era version during President Donald Trump’s presidency, current Attorney General Chris Mayes has taken a vastly different stance. Democrat, along with 22 other prosecutors, He urged Haneen to maintain the program, arguing that DACA recipients are invaluable assets to their states. In a post on X, the site formerly known as Twitter, Mayes expressed her regret over Hanen’s decision.

“There are more than 30,700 Arizonans who have directly benefited from DACA.” books, Thursday. “These protections have allowed them to build their lives here, and our country is better because of it. Attempts to abruptly end this program are misguided and completely wrong.”

For local immigrant advocacy organizations, Haneen ruled It wasn’t a surprise. This is not the first time Hanen has opposed DACA; The program has been unable to accept new applicants for two years, following an order from Hanen in 2021 that effectively froze the program, allowing only renewals and new applicants to apply. Since then, up to 44,000 undocumented Arizona residents They become eligible for the program but are unable to benefit from the work permit and safety from deportation that comes with it.

It’s time for Congress to step up, said Cesar Ferros, spokesman for Living United for Change Arizona, a progressive social advocacy and immigrant rights group.

“There must be quick action and a united front from the Biden administration to Democrats in Congress to fulfill the promises they made during the election campaign and implement immigration reform,” he said.

A legislative solution is the only sure way to protect both DACA recipients and other undocumented people. The case against the federal policy is expected to be appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, and supporters are skeptical that the new conservative-majority body will rule in favor of the program.

But unless Democrats can reclaim the US House of Representatives, a solution from the halls of Congress is unlikely. As many as possible 11 attempts to pass immigration reform have failed To move forward over the past 20 years.

Virus denounced efforts by Republican politicians to demonize and obstruct immigration reform, saying the party’s position is completely at odds with public opinion.

“There are a lot of policies at play here that hinder comprehensive immigration reform,” he said. “Unfortunately, the Republican Party has used this issue as a weapon to fire up its base and used our immigrant communities as scapegoats. (Wednesday’s) decision is just one example of Republicans taking another calculated step to obstruct DACA and a future in which immigration reform becomes a reality.

as much as 74% of Americans They agree that Congress should grant legal status to undocumented people brought to the country as children, and 75% support the idea of ​​there being a legal path for all undocumented people to remain in the United States as long as they meet certain eligibility requirements.

Proposition 308, which leveled the playing field for undocumented students seeking higher education in the Grand Canyon State, is a good indicator of Arizonans’ support for their undocumented neighbors, Ferus said. The measure passed by a narrow margin of 51% to 48%, allowing undocumented students who graduate from an Arizona high school to pay in-state tuition and receive state-funded scholarships.

Feros said there is an urgent need for immigration reform. The United States and Arizona reap the economic benefits of a growing and stable workforce. In the Grand Canyon State, DACA recipients are an active part of the economy, contributing what they can $93.3 million in state and local taxes It represents more than $763 million in purchasing power. In the end, it’s the right thing to do, Ferus said.

“The state becomes stronger when we keep communities safe and do not see families torn apart by bad policies,” he said.

Pedro Gonzalez Aboite moved with his family to the United States when he was just two years old from Sinaloa, Mexico. Receiving DACA at 16 years old helped Gonzalez Aboite breathe a sigh of relief, alleviating the lingering fear of deportation and allowing him to think about his future with more hope.

“DACA is everything to me,” he told the Mirror. “It opened up a lot of opportunities for me.”

“Just having DACA gave me the confidence and energy to say hey, if I’m already here, I can do so much more,” he added.

After graduating from high school in Arizona, Gonzalez-Aboit earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology. He now connects undocumented families and youth, including other DACA recipients, to resources as a family and community liaison with Aliento, an immigrant advocacy organization.

The ongoing dispute over whether or not undocumented people deserve a place in the United States is frustrating, especially when DACA recipients have proven themselves so many times, Gonzalez-Abuite said. Recipients are required to renew their applications every two years, in a The cost of applying is $495 every-time. Qualified applicants must either be enrolled in school or have a diploma or GED. Any conviction for a felony or high misdemeanor will result in the application being denied.

“We all either go to school or work and contribute to society, so why should we be separated?” Gonzalez asked Aboit.

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