WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Ranking Member on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, issued the following statement on the 5th anniversary of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program:
“Today marks the fifth anniversary of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. On this day, we must pause to consider where the 800,000 young people (known as DREAMers) who have come out of the shadows thanks to this program would be without it.
“DACA recognizes that we should not hold hardworking, innocent children responsible for the actions of their parents. It recognizes that these children have mostly known no other homeland than the United States of America. They have gone to school, worked, played and worshipped alongside us for many years. They are Americans in every way other than immigration status. Congress should focus on passing comprehensive immigration reform and the DREAM Act (Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors) to once and for all fix our broken immigration system. The Trump Administration should focus its immigration enforcement resources on targeting violent and dangerous criminals, as the Obama Administration did. The Trump Administration should abandon its efforts to tear apart children from their parents and families.
“America has invested in DREAMers by educating them in our schools, and it makes no sense to deport them to countries that in many cases they have never known. In Maryland, estimates show we have almost 10,000 DACA recipients, and nearly 9,000 DACA workers, with a GDP impact of over a half-billion dollars annually. Let’s not squander these resources by deporting the next generation of hardworking Americans who could become teachers, doctors, engineers, and small business owners who can contribute so much to our economy, communities, and society.
“The DACA program and DREAMers prove that it is possible to be both fair and compassionate, and that this country is best when we insist on being both. I strongly urge President Trump to defend the DACA program and uphold the promise this nation made to DREAMers five years ago. While our immigration system is in need of reform, deporting law-abiding young people is not reform – it’s cruel and un-American. President Trump must not take us down that path, now or ever.”