Democratic Senator Daphne Campbell’s bill urging the US Congress to protect children of immigrants living in the states under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program (DACA) passed its first committee of reference today.
“DREAMers are under protected status,” Senator Campbell (D-Miami) testified in the Senate Children, Families, and Elder Affairs Committee, using the acronym commonly associated with these immigrants. “They have been brought to the US by their parents, they have established a life of their own, they have had their own children, they are working and paying taxes, they are contributing to the US economy. Why send them back to a country that they have never known?
“Would we be having this discussion if these kids came from Norway or a similar county where most of the inhabitants are white?”
Senator Campbell’s measure, SM 882, calls on Congress to preserve DACA. The program, begun under President Barack Obama in 2012, allows immigrants who came to the United States as children to apply for temporary residence and eligibility for a work permit in this country. Last September, President Donald Trump abruptly rescinded the program, but deferred full implementation of the rescission until March 5, 2018, kicking the resolution of the issue to Congress.
Almost 800,000 immigrants qualified under DACA, including 50,216 in Florida. Requirements included arrival in the U.S. prior to the age of 16, and ongoing residence since June 15, 2007.
“By sending this message to Washington DC, we are urging Congress to put its foolishness aside and pass the DACA for these children so they can stay here and they don’t have to be deported,” Senator Campbell told the committee. “We are the ones who have the voices. They are the voiceless.”
The committee passed SM 882 on a 3-2 vote. The bill goes next to the Judiciary Committee.