New Jersey Is Our Home: How the Garden State Can Stand Up for Dreamers
Make the Road New Jersey – April 8, 2020
On September 5, 2017 the Trump Administration ended DACA, upending the lives of about 800,000 immigrant young people who call the United States home. DACA, or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, gives protection from deportation and work authorization to immigrants who came to this country as children and have pursued an education here since 2012, when President Obama announced the program. As the U.S. Supreme Court readies to issue a ruling on the legality of the Trump administration’s decision to end DACA, the lives of immigrant youth across the country are again thrust into uncertainty and face the threat of deportation and separation from our families and the only country we know. Here in New Jersey, we are calling upon our local and state elected officials to take action to support Dreamers, fight back against deportations and protect our ability to thrive in New Jersey.
Dreamers are vital to the Garden State. We are your classmates, your co-workers, your teachers, parents and your neighbors. In New Jersey, there are 53,000 DACA eligible individuals. Today, about 16,620 individuals currently have active DACA status since Trump ended the program and blocked potentially eligible individuals from applying. We are the main source of income in many of our households. With DACA many immigrant young people in New Jersey have been able to graduate college, get a job, and have health insurance. About 5,200 U.S. citizen children in New Jersey have a DACA parent. DACA-eligible New Jersey residents earned an estimated $745.9 million in New Jersey in 2018, and paid an estimated $105.2 million in state and local taxes. If DACA workers were removed from the economy, New Jersey would lose an estimated $1.587 billion in annual GDP. Immigrant young people with DACA have been given the opportunity to thrive not just survive.
The stakes couldn’t be higher. Should the Supreme Court approve the Trump administration’s decision to end DACA, DACA recipients would face mass deportation. DACA recipients are already being targeted for deportation. In December, CNN reported that ICE is reopening long-closed deportation cases against DACA recipients, confirming what we’ve known: ICE is targeting immigrants, including DACA recipients, for deportation. ICE Acting Director Matthew Albence confirmed that DACA recipients were “certainly” subject to deportation, because “they’re here illegally.“ DACA isn’t a status.”
Given these threats, New Jersey must act immediately to ensure that regardless of the Supreme Court decision immigrant communities continue to contribute, pursue our dreams and remain with our families. Our home is here in the Garden State, and we call upon our local and state elected officials to take action. While we fight for federal reform, our state can play a critical role in having Dreamers’ backs. We urge you to take the following steps to support DACA recipients in New Jersey.