Written by Ricardo Martinez, CEO Equality Texas
Today, the Supreme Court ruled against the challenge to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. We celebrate with the 700,000+ Dreamers (nearly 40,000 of them LGBTQ- identified) and their loved ones who can now continue pursuing the American Dream without the constant threat of deportation. This threat is especially dire for LGBTQ Dreamers, who have reported increased concern for their physical safety in their country of origin.
The average DACA recipient arrived in the U.S. at age six. This resonates with me personally because my own journey in this country started when my family and I immigrated to the U.S. on my sixth birthday. That fact grounds me in the struggle families have been facing since this challenge was first brought forward. My siblings and I worked incredibly hard to live out our American dreams and give back to our country in different ways. We were only able to do so because we had a path to citizenship. I hope families like mine are granted the same opportunity to one day be recognized as Americans in the eyes of the law.
The Senate now needs to go further and permanently protect Dreamers. Texas is home to over 100,000 Dreamers — the second highest population of Dreamers in the nation — who are our co-workers, neighbors, and friends. These Texans work hard to support their families, build our economy, and contribute to our communities. Let’s not forget that many of our recent COVID-19 frontline workers — our emergency service and medical professionals, delivery drivers, and other “essential service providers” — belong to our immigrant communities and have carried the burden of serving us as we wait for the threat of the pandemic to pass.
The majority of Americans — both Republicans and Democrats — support DACA recipients. Eighty-three percent say these individuals should be given a path to citizenship. The lives and well-being of our neighbors should never have been used as a divisive political issue, but we have an opportunity now to come together in their support. We encourage individuals to call their representatives and ask them to pass the Dream and Promise Act so that the Dreamers who call Texas, and our nation, home can live with dignity and without fear.