As Donald Trump boasts about visiting a hard-hit Texas despite proposing a budget that makes cuts to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in order to fund his immoral border wall that Mexico will never pay for, he may also be set on tearing Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) from an estimated 120,000 undocumented immigrant youth in the state. The Dallas Morning News Editorial Board earlier this year:
The Center for American Progress estimates that the Texas economy would lose $6.1 billion annually if 100,000 workers were deported.
If they're deported, they no longer will pump money back into their communities. They won't pay taxes, or buy and sell goods. They may not be able to pay back loans for mortgages, cars and higher education.
We understand the desire to be tough on illegal immigration. But targeting these young immigrants is misguided. They did not choose to be brought here, and now that they're here, they contribute mightily to the Texas economy.
Texas is home to the second-largest group of DACA recipients in the nation. “About 55,000 of them own vehicles. They pay taxes and buy and sell goods. Many of them are in college.” Above all, they call Texas home, and to strip them of their DACA—which allows them to work legally and live free from the fear of deportation—after five years would go down as one of the most shameful days in our nation's history.
“It would be heartless and self-defeating to deport thousands of achievers making positive contributions to their communities,” states the editorial board. “Texas needs them.”
Julia Verzbickis, a DACA recipient and teacher from San Antonio:
The week after my twenty-first birthday, I got notice that my DACA application had been approved. Within 12 hours, I’d applied for a social security card, and within a week, I’d filled out dozens of job applications. I got a license, for the first time, ever.
In November 2014, I got into Teach For America. I was placed in San Antonio, 1,800 miles away from New Jersey. I graduated college the following May, cum laude, with a double-major in English and Journalism.
In August 2015, I started teaching. I also met the man that would become the love of my life. I had a new life in a new state and I was all by myself for the first time ever, and I couldn’t be more excited.
I’ve been teaching middle school since then, and I love it. My kids are amazing. They drive me nuts on any given day, but I love them.
DACA gave me my independence back. It’s the single reason I am able to teach, and live on my own, and pay for my car, and feel like I belong in the country I have lived in for 15 years.
Knowing that I could lose all the freedom I’ve gained is a paralyzing fear. I’ve worked so hard, and my life was just coming together, and now it might fall apart again. I hope that doesn’t happen, but if I’ve learned anything these last 15 years, it’s to hope for the best and prepare for the worst.
The fact is that Donald Trump is putting 120,000 Texas immigrant youth, and more than 800,000 immigrant youth nationally, at risk of being torn from the only country they call home in order to appease a white supremacist agenda.
It’s up to us to not only keep fighting to defend DACA, but to call on congressional leaders to pass the bipartisan DREAM Act to finally give immigrant youth permanent protections and a path to citizenship. Visit DefendDACA.com today and stand by immigrant youth. They are here to stay.