Padilla Pushes for Permanent Protections, Pathway to Citizenship for Dreamers on DACA’s 10th Anniversary￼
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, on the 10th anniversary for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, U.S. Senator Alex Padilla (D-Calif.) joined a press conference to reiterate his support for immigration reform, codifying DACA, and bringing relief to the hundreds of thousands of Dreamers across the country. Padilla joined #WithDACA – a coalition comprised of the American Business Immigration Coalition (ABIC), Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights (CHIRLA), TheDream.US, FWD.us, National Immigration Law Center (NILC), Pre-Health Dreamers, Presidents’ Alliance on Higher Education and Immigration, and United We Dream to mark the anniversary.
“DACA was created 10 years ago because of your voices, your activism, your organizing, and for 10 years DACA has stood at times in question,” said Senator Padilla to the group of Dreamers. “And for all the benefits and protections that DACA has meant for dreamers and your families and communities, we know that many times it’s been in limbo, including to this very day. You deserve better. America is better than this, and that’s why we are not giving up.”
The press conference comes just weeks before the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals is slated to hear oral arguments in a case that will determine DACA’s future viability, and is part of a larger fly-in of Dreamers, educators, and business leaders who will be meeting with their Members of Congress.
A full transcript of the Senator’s remarks in English and Spanish can be found below:
Thank you, thank you. And it is not a coincidence, [I’m] proud to represent California, which is home to more immigrants, including more dreamers, than any state in the nation. So, this is a big deal for us.
Thank you all for coming out today. Thank you for your passion. Thank you for your activism. And thank you for your commitment because on the one hand, we are celebrating 10 years, but we’re celebrating 10 years of not giving up, we need to codify DACA protections and more into federal law.
I want to take a moment to thank some of my colleagues who were here earlier—Senator Durbin, who is chair of the Judiciary Committee, and has been a longtime champion of the cause. Senator Bob Menendez, who for many years was the primary, if not the only Latino voice in the United States Senate, fighting for dreamers, but the good news is he’s got help now. You’re going to be hearing from Catherine Cortez Masto in a bit, our colleague Ben Ray Lujan who isn’t here right now, is with us in this cause. And I’m proud to join it as not just a member of the Senate but as chair of the Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration and Border Safety.
Les quiero dar las gracias a todos ustedes por su presencia aquí, pero también por su compromiso a esta causa, todos los soñadores que están aquí compartiendo sus sueños y sus esperanzas. El programa de DACA fue creado por el esfuerzo de ustedes—de esta comunidad. Y por diez años el programa DACA ha ayudado a cientos de miles de jóvenes inmigrantes perseguir y lograr su sueño americano, contribuyendo a las comunidades donde vivimos, fortaleciendo nuestra economía, y nuestro país.
Pero sabemos que, desde el principio, el programa DACA no era una solución permanente. Era lo que era posible bajo el presidente Obama con la esperanza de ser una acción del congreso. Pero el congreso ha fallado en establecer las protecciones en ley federal y no es aceptable.
Celebrando diez años del programa DACA es una cosa, pero celebrando diez años de su activismo en la falta de acción de parte del congreso, es lo que nos une aquí hoy día y vamos a seguir luchando hasta que se cambien las leyes de inmigración en este país porque los Dreamers merecen mejor, nuestras comunidades merecen mejor, este país merece mejor.
You know, I have to acknowledge that DACA was created 10 years ago because of your voices, your activism, your organizing, and for 10 years DACA has stood at times in question. And for all the benefits and protections that DACA has meant for dreamers and your families and communities, we know that many times it’s been in limbo, including to this very day.
You deserve better. America is better than this, and that’s why we are not giving up. We point to the examples of DACA recipients having graduated high school, many times, valedictorians. I hear the stories every June—having graduated from college, having gone on to graduate school, becoming teachers, nurses, doctors, frontline workers in so many sectors that have been so critical during the course of this pandemic. Dreamers putting their health and that of their families on the line for the rest of the nation during the pandemic. They deserve better than to live in uncertainty or fear in change of status and possible deportation.
For more than 10 years, you’ve contributed and have earned protections and a pathway to citizenship and that’s why we are not giving up. We’re going to keep up the fight until we codify DACA and build on its success like the t-shirts say because that is in the best interest of our nation. So, we’ll keep fighting.
We know that we’ll explore any path forward—can’t wait for our Republican colleagues in the Senate to come along to overcome the filibuster to codify this into federal law. And in the meantime, we’ll keep pressing President Biden to use his executive authority to build on DACA and protect more dreamers thank you all very, very much.