FAMILY

Community group calls on lawmakers to protect DACA

Dec 15, 2022, 12:00 PM
People stand with signs supporting DACA recipients during a press conference...
Comunidades Unidas members and supporters attend a press conference on Dec. 14, 2022 in Salt Lake City. (Comunidades Unidas)
(Comunidades Unidas)

SALT LAKE CITY — Comunidades Unidas held a press conference Wednesday morning to urge lawmakers to protect the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, DACA. The program faces an uncertain future after the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals found it illegal in October.

Comunidades Unidas, a Latino community organization, held its press conference at the Salt Lake County Government building. The event aimed at fighting “together for a better future for undocumented members of our community,” according to a Facebook post from Comunidades Unidas.

Members of the community who are DACA recipients shared their stories during the press conference. 

 

Senate Minority Leader Luz Escamilla joined KSL at Night to talk about the program’s importance and what Comunidades Unidas is fighting for.

DACA difficulties

“Children should not be penalized for actions taken by adults,” Escamilla told KSL at Night.

Escamilla said those children become integrated into American communities and go on to contribute to those communities.

As those children become adults, they graduate college, buy homes, enter the workforce and have families.

But, Escamilla said, “They’re still in limbo because they [the government] haven’t been able to recognize and create a pathway for citizenship for them.”

Many of those in limbo only know America as their home, Escamilla said. Many of them don’t know any languages other than English.

And, Escamilla said, “decades of incompetence in Washington D.C.,” caused that limbo.

“Homeland security, you know, and immigration is one of the very few things they [the federal government] have to do and they can’t even get it right or even do anything about it.”

Making changes

As for Comunidades Unidas’ efforts, Escamilla said they are continuing an effort that has long existed.

So far, the government has been using band-aids to deal with immigration issues but Escamilla said the country needs reform.

Escamilla said she plans on personally asking Utah lawmakers to take up the issue of immigration reform.

“We’re a country of immigrants. There’s so much that we can make sure people get to feel safe and secure here. ”

And on the local side of things, Escamilla said the state already takes steps to integrate recipients.

Providing driving privileges, social security numbers, in-state tuition and workforce integration are just some of the things the state does for the community.

Escamilla said Utah recognizes the contributions of the community. Utah values the family and community-oriented, hard-working values of recipients.

“These are families and they should be protected as well.”

Listen to the full KSL at Night segment:

 

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Community group calls on lawmakers to protect DACA