June 18, 2020 — In a landmark ruling today, the U.S. Supreme Court maintained the DACA program, ensuring that recipients and newly qualified applicants will continue to receive legal protections. The news sparked an outpouring on social media, as DACA recipients, politicians and religious leaders affirmed that “home is here.”
“As our students, parishioners and employees, as our friends and our family, DACA recipients are vital and beloved members of the Ignatian network. Today’s Supreme Court ruling is a great victory, and we must continue to support and protect Dreamers and their bright futures,” says president of the Jesuit Conference, Fr. Tim Kesicki, SJ.
Last fall Ignatian organizations rallied in support of DACA as the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the case.
DACA provides work permits and deportation protection to over 700,000 people who moved to the U.S. as children. It does not provide a pathway to citizenship. When the Trump administration moved to end the program, it raised concerns that DACA recipients, despite having grown up in the U.S., could be vulnerable to deportation.
That’s why Ignatian organizations are calling on the Senate to provide DACA recipients with a pathway to citizenship. In a joint statement, the Jesuit Provincials of the United States, the Ignatian Solidarity Network, the Jesuit Schools Network and the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities urged the U.S. Senate to pass a clean Dream Act.
The Dream Act, which passed the U.S. House of Representatives in 2019, is the next step in ensuring the futures of DACA recipients. If passed by the Senate and signed by the president, this legislation will provide permanent resident status and eventual citizenship to DACA recipients.
The Jesuit statement asks Senators “to look past partisan divisions in order to ensure that these young men and women, who have lived their lives in this country, are no longer faced with the imminent possibility of deportation.” The Supreme Court decision protects DACA for now, but, as the statement notes, future administrations could attempt to disband the program, leaving recipients vulnerable. Legislation like the Dream Act is the only way Dreamers can receive permanent status.
In the current health and economic crisis, many DACA recipients play a key role in supporting our nation’s health. Over 29,000 DACA recipients work in healthcare, and many of them are alumni of Jesuit institutions. The Stritch School of Medicine at Loyola University Chicago was the first medical school to enroll students with DACA status — Stritch is now home to 32 DACA students.
At Regis University in Denver, DACA recipient and certified EMT Luisana Pacheco is studying in the school’s accelerated nursing program. As a healthcare worker and student, she is committed to directly serving those in need. In the current health and economic crisis, people like Luisana are vital to our nation’s recovery. Luisana, students and alum of the Stritch School of Medicine, and thousands of other essential workers who are doing so much for our country at this time must, like all DACA recipients, be given a pathway to citizenship.
“DACA recipients have demonstrated talent, hard work and commitment to this country,” the statement says. “In this moment of crisis, we have an opportunity to rise above the usual divisions and act for the common good.”
Join the Ignatian family in supporting a legislative solution to provide permanent status for DACA recipients. Tell your Senator to pass a clean Dream Act now.