Re: DACA Anniversary and Presidential Action to Keep Immigrant Families Together - JFSSD
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Re: DACA Anniversary and Presidential Action to Keep Immigrant Families Together

From Michael Hopkins, CEO of Jewish Family Service of San Diego

This past Saturday marked 12 years since the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program began, which has helped hardworking Americans who were brought to the U.S. as children to work and remain in the U.S. Since the program began in June 2012, DACA recipients (also known as Dreamers) have found themselves in limbo because Congress has not taken action to pass legislation that provides a pathway for citizenship for Dreamers.

Dreamers are integral members of our society, and Jewish Family Service of San Diego is proud to have assisted over more than 230 Dreamers with their DACA applications within the last year. JFS’s Higher Education Legal Services  also provides local college communities with pro bono immigration legal services, including DACA. Our Affirmative Services Program also provides immigration legal services, including DACA, to lower-income noncitizens.

Today, the federal government celebrated this anniversary and President Biden signed an executive order that focuses on keeping immigrant families together. The executive order will allow noncitizen spouses and children of U.S. citizens to apply for lawful permanent residence in the U.S., instead of forcing them to separate to complete the process outside the country. This executive order also increases work visa opportunities that will help Dreamers who have earned a higher education degree in the U.S. and have received an offer of employment from a U.S. employer in a field related to their degree.

JFS applauds this executive order as a significant step to help keep families together and provide stability for many immigrant families who contribute to our local community.

We urge these efforts for comprehensive immigration reform to continue, so that Dreamers and other undocumented immigrants, who are our friends, neighbors and key contributors to our communities, to have pathways to ensure their permanent safety and freedom in the U.S. 

With an estimated 40,000 DACA recipients living in San Diego County and as World Refugee Day approaches on June 20, we have seen firsthand how Dreamers and other newcomers build a stronger, healthier, more resilient San Diego. JFS is proud to offer a variety of immigration services, including refugee resettlement, respite shelter and legal support for people seeking asylum and citizenship classes.

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