Den­ham Reaf­firms Sup­port For DACA Pro­gram

The Oakdale Leader - - NEWS -

Con­gress­man Jeff Den­ham (CA-10) on Tues­day joined Cen­tral Val­ley Dreamer To­mas Evan­ge­lista to reaf­firm his sup­port for Dream­ers and the DACA pro­gram, and called on his col­leagues in Congress on both sides of the aisle to join to­gether to pass leg­is­la­tion to pro­tect Dream­ers fac­ing the im­mi­nent threat of a DACA re­peal.

The DACA, De­ferred Ac­tion for Child­hood Ar­rivals, pro­gram is un­der re­view.

Point­ing to the 25,000 DACA-el­i­gi­ble in­di­vid­u­als liv­ing in Stanis­laus, Merced, and San Joaquin coun­ties, Con­gress­man Den­ham em­pha­sized that Dream­ers are sig­nif­i­cant driv­ers of the lo­cal econ­omy. The con­gress­man un­der­scored that elim­i­nat­ing the DACA pro­gram with­out first pass­ing a per­ma­nent leg­isla­tive re­place­ment would pull the rug out from un­der young im­mi­grants who have known no other home out­side the United States, and, be­yond the moral im­pli­ca­tions, would cost the Cal­i­for­nia econ­omy al­most $11 bil­lion in an­nual GDP.

Con­gress­man Den­ham and Evan­ge­lista dis­cussed the trans­for­ma­tive ef­fect that DACA has had on the young man’s life, and urged law­mak­ers to pass a leg­isla­tive so­lu­tion that al­lows 800,000 hard­work­ing young peo­ple like Evan­ge­lista across the coun­try to con­tinue work­ing, pay­ing taxes, and serv­ing lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties and in the U.S. mil­i­tary with­out fear of de­por­ta­tion. FWD.us hosted the dis­cus­sion.

“Congress needs to act now to find a leg­isla­tive so­lu­tion for Dream­ers who for years have been stuck in limbo,” said Con­gress­man Den­ham. “Re­cent events only high­light the ur­gency of de­ter­min­ing a path for­ward for those young adults, and I will con­tinue to fight for them to be able to stay in the only home they have ever known.”

For Evan­ge­lista, a Dreamer who came to the United States as an in­fant, the DACA pro­gram has been trans­for­ma­tive. His work per­mit has en­abled him to pur­sue higher ed­u­ca­tion and earn a bach­e­lor’s de­gree in ki­ne­si­ol­ogy, and to­day he works as a pro­gram manager for the non­profit Latino Lead­er­ship Council, help­ing home­less Amer­i­cans con­nect to the care they need.

“The DACA pro­gram changed my life. With DACA, I was able to grad­u­ate from Cal­i­for­nia State Uni­ver­sity Stanis­laus, give back to my com­mu­nity, pur­sue my dream of run­ning track and field, and now work full time at a non­profit com­mu­nity or­ga­ni­za­tion,” said Evan­ge­lista. “Bar­ring re­newals to the DACA pro­gram would force me from my job, and I would be made a pri­or­ity for de­por­ta­tion. I hope Congress will pass a leg­isla­tive so­lu­tion that would al­low hun­dreds of thou­sands of us Dream­ers to con­tinue con­tribut­ing to our com­mu­ni­ties and serve the coun­try we love and call home.”

In Cal­i­for­nia’s 10th Con­gres­sional Dis­trict, rep­re­sented by Con­gress­man Den­ham, im­mi­grants make up al­most 20 per­cent of the pop­u­la­tion, pay $951.5 mil­lion in taxes an­nu­ally, and pos­sess an­nual spend­ing power of $2.7 bil­lion. In Stanis­laus County alone, there are ap­prox­i­mately 8,000 DACA-el­i­gi­ble in­di­vid­u­als.

“We are deeply grate­ful for Con­gress­man Den­ham’s ex­tra­or­di­nary lead­er­ship to pass a bi­par­ti­san leg­isla­tive so­lu­tion to pro­tect 800,000 hard­work­ing Dream­ers,” added Todd Schulte, Pres­i­dent of FWD.us. “We urge his col­leagues to join him in stand­ing up for these in­cred­i­ble young peo­ple, so that DACA re­cip­i­ents can con­tinue to live in the only coun­try they know as home and make our econ­omy and our com­mu­ni­ties stronger.”

FWD.us is a bi­par­ti­san or­ga­ni­za­tion started by key lead­ers in the tech and busi­ness com­mu­nity to pro­mote poli­cies to keep the United States com­pet­i­tive in a global econ­omy, start­ing with com­mon sense im­mi­gra­tion re­form and crim­i­nal jus­tice re­form.

DACA has un­locked count­less eco­nomic op­por­tu­ni­ties for the nearly 800,000 young peo­ple across the United States, 200,000 of whom live in Cal­i­for­nia. These in­di­vid­u­als have been in the coun­try since child­hood, and have been able to live, work and con­trib­ute to their com­mu­ni­ties be­cause of the work per­mit and tem­po­rary pro­tec­tion from de­por­ta­tion pro­vided through the DACA pro­gram.

Jeff Den­ham

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