SAINT PAUL, Minn – Legislators, the People of Color and Indigenous (POCI) Caucus, leaders of faith, immigrant allies, and caring Minnesotans gather in solidarity today with DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) recipients who entered the United States as minors under the age of 16.
Executive orders are powerful tools and throughout our nation’s history, presidents have used these powers for the betterment of our country. An executive order put Americans back to work during the Great Depression. Our military was desegregated by executive order, and it was an executive order that protected students when our schools were desegregated. One of our country’s greatest service programs, the Peace Corps, was established by executive order more than a half century ago.
Not since President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the executive order that led to the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II has a president issued an executive order that threatened so much harm, injury, and disruption to our communities. To put the president’s action to revoke DACA into historical perspective, Japanese internment affected nearly 120,000 people. Ending DACA will affect nearly 800,000 young people, more than 6,300 who reside and work in our state of Minnesota.
The young people who are recipients of DACA are honest, hard-working members of our communities. As is required to receive DACA, they are law-abiding and have passed strict security and background checks. DACA recipients embody all the best qualities that we hope for and expect from all our young people. But DACA recipients are much more than that. They are people we know and love.
For so many of us, DACA recipients are brothers and sisters, and nephews and nieces. They are co-workers and friends. Many are parents to U.S. citizen children. They are neighbors and members of our faith communities. DACA recipients have been employed right here in the State Capitol. DACA recipients are medical students, law students, high school and college students, and workers in countless industries and vocations.
Let’s consider what ending DACA will mean, not only to DACA recipients, but to our state and nation: ending DACA will do nothing to make our country more secure. Ending DACA will not bring order to our broken immigration system. Ending DACA will not reduce crime, or strengthen the public safety. Ending DACA will not strengthen our economy nor make our civic life stronger.
So we have to ask ourselves, what purpose is served by revoking DACA from 800,000 young people? What purpose is served by bringing chaos to the lives of thousands of young people who have faithfully complied with the requirements that our Federal and State governments placed on them for the last five years?
We have a responsibility to defend DACA recipients. These bright young people earned a place in our communities. When called on, they stood up to be counted. Now they need us to stand with them. We must demonstrate we have the integrity to honor our end of the bargain.
Across Minnesota, we call on bipartisan state leaders to continue integrating DACA recipients into our civic life, our workforce, and the pathways to opportunities. It is our charge to uphold Constitutional protections and due process so DACA recipients are not signled out unfairly. We can build a stronger Minnesota with our DACA community.
We also have a responsibility to hold our Congress and the President accountable for an immigration system that is failing the economic, cultural, and humanitarian needs of our country. There is no Democrat or Republican that believes that our immigration system is serving our country. Revoking DACA is not the solution.
The People of Color & Indigenous Caucus is a new caucus first formed in 2017 and includes: Sens. Melisa Franzen (49), Bobby Jo Champion (59), Jeff Hayden (62), Patricia Torres-Ray (63), Foung Hawj (67), and Reps. Mary Kunesh-Podein (41B), Jamie Becker-Finn (42B), Peggy Flanagan (46A), Erin Maye Quade (57A), Fue Lee (59A), Ilhan Omar (60B), Susan Allen (62B), Rena Moran (65A), and Carlos Mariani (65B).