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Farmworker Families Need DAPA & DACA+
More than 4,000 people wait outside of the Supreme Court building during the oral arguments of DAPA and DACA+.
This morning the United States Supreme Court heard oral arguments on two of President Obama’s important executive actions providing administrative relief from immigration enforcement: Deferred Action for Parents of American-born Children (DAPA) and the expansion of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA+). The case will determine the future of millions of undocumented immigrants in the United State hoping for relief from the threat of deportation that would rip their families apart.
In the absence of Congressional action, DAPA and DACA+ would improve the lives of undocumented immigrants with deep ties to the community. Although these programs are not perfect, they would provide undocumented immigrants with options to live and work in the United States. And—more importantly—they will help keep families together.
Supporters of DAPA and DACA+ march to the steps of the Supreme Court of the United States.
On the steps of the Supreme Court building, more than 4,000 people gathered this morning from across the country for a rally, voicing their support through chants, poster signs, and a march. ECMHSP joins the many organizations standing in support of the president’s actions. According to Farmworker Justice, one in six beneficiaries of DAPA and DACA+ will be farmworkers or directly related to farm work. This includes many of the farmworker families we serve at ECMHSP centers.
Take Maria Adame Dominguez’s story for example. Maria immigrated to the United States at the age of nine. Although she was a bright student at school, Maria became discouraged when she realized her options to continue her studies were limited due to her undocumented status. She decided to drop out of school, and shortly after having her first son, she joined her father in the mushroom fields. When she enrolled her son
Maria and her children’s lives have been improved through DACA.
in the ECMHSP Head Start program, she became involved in the ECMHSP governance and quickly rose through the ranks; in 2014, she was elected as the ECMHSP Policy Council President. Although Maria continued to work in the fields, she never gave up on her dreams of earning a college degree. After receiving her DACA, she enrolled back in school and is currently studying to earn her Associate’s degree in Early Childhood Management. In addition, Maria applied to work at the very ECMHSP Head Start center that helped her family, and is now the Family Service Coordinator with Pathstone Corporation, a delegate agency of ECMHSP. [You can read Maria’s full story, “A Parent’s Dream,” in the ECMSHP’s 2015 Annual Report.]
Just as Maria’s life and that of her children have been improved through DACA, we know many more families can benefit from DAPA and DACA+, especially our migrant and seasonal farmworker families. In response to the great need in our farmworker communities, ECMHSP developed Farmworker Families United!, an immigration legal services program that provides pro bono legal assistance to farmworkers whose children are enrolled in our Head Start centers. Through this program, ECMHSP has helped many parents apply for DACA, which currently remains in place, and has seen the positive effect the deferred action has on the lives of our farmworker families. If the Supreme Court upholds President Obama’s executive actions, ECMHSP will be ready to continue helping our families enroll in the important deferred action programs.
Many of our families have been in the country for a long time and are interwoven into the fabric of our society. Farmworkers are responsible for providing our nation with a safe and secure source of fresh food and vegetables every day. The very least we can do is reward their labor by fighting for their families and supporting actions that will keep their families together.
The DAPA and DACA+ programs could improve the lives of millions of undocumented families, including our farmworker families.
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