WASHINGTON, DC – FWD.us has joined an amicus brief in support of the 700,000 young immigrants who earned work authorization and deportation protections via the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. DACA heads to the Supreme Court in November, with oral arguments set for November 12, and a ruling expected as soon as January 2020. The brief is available here.
A number of DACA recipients, all of whom grew up in the United States and call this country home, are vital members of FWD.us’ staff, working in roles from technology and operations, to organizing and communications. FWD.us President Todd Schulte issued the following statement on FWD.us’ decision to join the amicus brief:
“FWD.us is proud to join an amicus brief that uplifts the stories of 22 brave Dreamers who, through the protections earned via the Deferred Action program, have been able to come out of the shadows and make countless contributions to the United States. Their experiences reaffirm that Dreamers have developed deep roots in this country over decades, and uprooting their lives would be devastating for them, their families and their communities across the country — not to mention for their colleagues and friends at FWD.us.
“DACA has allowed our organization to hire incredible staff with a diversity of talents, perspectives and life experiences. We have seen firsthand the immeasurable courage and bravery of these individuals who fight every single day for their futures. Next month, the Supreme Court will take up the fate of the DACA program. A decision to end this vital program will have devastating, far-reaching consequences for our country, not to mention the moral cost of deporting 700,000 young people who for decades have called the United States home.
“The Supreme Court should uphold the rulings of lower courts across the country which have clearly and repeatedly made clear that the way the Trump Administration ended DACA was unlawful. At FWD.us, we will continue to stand shoulder to shoulder with DACA recipients and the millions of their friends, family members, colleagues, and neighbors across the country who have made their voices heard in support of Dreamers.”
Here are quotes from several FWD.us staff who are currently protected from deportation under the DACA program:
Pamela Chomba, Director of State Immigration Campaigns: “DACA is more than a work permit and protection from deportation. DACA allowed me to set my roots, to live without fear, and advocate for my undocumented and immigrant community. The upcoming hearing crumbles the home I built and takes away my American Dreams but I’m hopeful my friends and neighbors will continue to show up for Dreamers like me.”
Samuel Cervantes, Research Associate: “My story is that of 700,000 DACA recipients who have called the United States their only home since the age of 6. Our stories illustrate the transformative power of DACA which has allowed Dreamers like me to fully contribute as a member of our society by allowing us to fulfill our dreams, put our passion into action, and in turn improve the lives of every person in our nation.”
Daniela Chomba, Operations Associate: “I’ve called New Jersey home since the age of 10, a place where I grew up and learned to belong somewhere. DACA has allowed me to go after my dreams and be able to support myself, my family, and help improve my community. This court case, and the decision following, could take everything for me; my job, my security, my home.”
Leezia Dhalla, Press Director: “I moved to San Antonio when I was six years old. In Texas, I was a Girl Scout, said the Pledge of Allegiance every morning, and spent years learning how to square dance. Since earning a work permit through DACA seven years ago, I’ve been able to contribute even more to society. I’ve paid off my student loans, built a meaningful career and have paid my fair share of taxes. None of this is possible if DACA goes away.”
Luis Espino, Technology Associate: “I am a son, an uncle, a mentor, and most importantly, I am a steward of my family’s wildest dreams. I am the fruit of my loved ones’ consistent care, investment, and belief in me. DACA opened the doors for me to do right by the responsibility I have to my community, in the form of a legal document that said I could. This decision will determine whether I can continue supporting my community and fulfill my role of galvanizing civic engagement through technology in this country, or whether I will be stripped of my livelihood and my potential. The Supreme Court has the power to determine my fate and that of the 700,000 other DACA recipients who like me, want nothing but a chance to continue to thrive, take all that has been invested in us, and pay it forward.”
Marissa Molina, Colorado State Immigration Manager: “ I have called Colorado home for almost 19 years. Here my community has nurtured my dreams and invested in my success and thanks to DACA I was able to pay it forward by becoming an educator. I can’t picture building my life anywhere else, especially if I was separated from my family. While we do not know what the future holds, I know that as long as my work permit is valid I will continue to get up and work on improving the lives of people in my community.”
Maria Praeli, Government Relations Manager: “I have a life full of memories in this country that I have called home since I was five years old. For the past two decades, my life has been filled with beautiful experiences, friendships, and opportunities. I now wake up every morning counting the days until the Supreme Court hears oral arguments on DACA. I go on my morning runs as I try to work through the constant state of anxiety and uncertainty. How does one prepare for their entire life to be turned upside down in the blink of an eye?”