Beginning in 2012, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program has allowed certain undocumented immigrants brought to the United States as children a legal way to remain in the U.S. to work or go to school for a two-year period. These hard-working individuals came into this country at an early age through no fault of their own, and America is the only home they have ever known. Since the program’s implementation, I have been a strong supporter of DACA protections for these young immigrants – our DREAMers – and of expanding the DACA program. DREAMers should be allowed to work, study, and contribute to their communities without fear of being ripped away from their families and their home. Protecting DREAMers is the fair, moral, and just thing to do.
Under the Trump Administration, the future of the DACA program was initially unclear. Accordingly, I joined many of my colleagues in Congress to make protecting DREAMers a top priority, and have consistently and unequivocally stood with DREAMers. Here is what I have done:
- In January, I cosponsored the BRIDGE Act, which would provide 3 years of deferred action to DREAMers while Congress works towards comprehensive immigration reform.
- In March, I spoke on the House floor, to push calling on the Administration to work with Congress on a bipartisan basis to finally reform our nation’s broken immigration system. For years I have advocated for bipartisan comprehensive immigration reform to bring commonsense, fairness, and certainty to our immigration system. As a member of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC), I have worked with my colleagues to get this crucial reform through Congress.
- In April and July, I joined my CHC colleagues in meeting with then-Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly to discuss America’s immigration policy. Our message to Secretary Kelly was very simple: the U.S. must preserve the DACA program. We must allow these young people to continue contributing to our country while Congress works on bipartisan comprehensive immigration reform.
- In August, I wrote to President Trump to urge him to continue DACA, and protect the program in court from ongoing lawsuits.
- On Sept. 5, 2017, when the Administration announced it would terminate DACA following a 6-month delay, I took to the House floor to again stand with DREAMers, expressing my deep disappointment with the decision and reaffirming my determination to protect our DREAMers.
- I sent a newsletter to my constituents to provide them with essential information and key deadlines for how to extend their DACA protections.
- I joined my House colleagues in cosponsoring the Dream Act, a bill that would provide DREAMers with a legal status and put them on a path for earned citizenship.
- I signed a discharge petition to force the Dream Act to the House floor for a vote, refusing to allow partisan politics to bury the legislation.
- Since DACAs protections were rescinded by the Trump Administration, I have contacted acting Homeland Security Secretary Elaine Duke, expressing the dire need to protect DREAMers personal information, asking the Department of Homeland Security to extend the artificial deadline for DACA permit renewal, and to allow DACA renewal applications to be resubmitted after the administration’s Oct. 5 deadline.
- This week, I spoke again on the House floor to bring to the forefront the need to vote on the Dream Act.
Rep. Costa calls for a Vote on the DREAM Act on the House Floor
It is immoral to continue to allow our DREAMers to live in fear and uncertainty. These young people are our neighbors – many of them are students – and they are woven into the fabric of America. In the San Joaquin Valley alone, we have roughly 500 DREAMers attending Fresno State and approximately 545 attending UC Merced. Protecting DREAMers is not only the right thing to do, it is the American thing to do. Congress must act, and I will continue to fight for our DREAMers and for bipartisan comprehensive immigration reform.
Thank you for taking the time to read this newsletter update. As always, please do not hesitate to contact me regarding any federal issues of your concern. To stay up-to-date on the work I am doing in Congress, please visit my website at costa.house.gov and sign up for my e-newsletter here. You can also follow my work and events in our Valley on my Facebook page and twitter account.
Member of Congress