Canceling DACA Would Imperil America’s Future

October 7, 2019 | National

The Children’s Defense Fund is committed to ensuring all children in the United States have the opportunity to learn, grow and thrive. The government’s decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program imperils our children’s—and nation’s—future success. On Friday, we joined three dozen organizations and leaders in filing a friend-of-the-court brief with the U.S. Supreme Court, asking the Court to consider the impact of rescinding DACA on beneficiaries’ children, whose interests were glaringly absent in the Trump administration’s 2017 decision.

DACA recipients are students pursuing college degrees and educators teaching the ABCs. They are engineers innovating the latest technologies and help desk geniuses. They are first responders and service members. They are friends and neighbors woven into the fabric of our communities. And, perhaps most vitally, they are parents tucking children into bed each night.

More than a quarter of a million children have at least one parent who is a DACA recipient. Yet the Trump administration failed to address these hundreds of thousands of affected children in its September 2017 memorandum announcing the end of DACA protections. Instead, the administrative record reflects only a concern with litigation.

The brief animates the developmental, psychological and economic harm children would suffer if DACA were rescinded. When DACA protections end, parents can be subject to detention and deportation. This is harmful to children’s mental, emotional and physical health. Even the threat of deportation, which is simply family separation by another name, can cause children to suffer symptoms of traumatic stress. Further, parents’ loss of work authorizations means they are no longer able to work legally, which can translate to lost income and poverty.

Let’s pause to reflect on these consequences: fear, trauma and poverty. Hurt and traumatized children. Rescinding DACA isn’t just a foolhardy policy decision that exposes the administration to wasteful litigation. It’s a dangerous choice.

The Court will hear arguments on November 12. We thank Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP, Persy Law & Policy and our good friends in advocacy for making sure children will have their day in court, too.

See the press release.

Read the amicus brief.