In Defense Of America’s Dreamers

In September 2017, President Trump announced that he would be ending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

DACA has previously acted as a safeguard for nearly 800,000 young people - also known as Dreamers

At Doctors of the World, we believe that any child brought to the United States by their family in search of a better life deserves the right to remain in this country.

For the large majority of these children, America is the only home they know or remember. These young people should be protected and empowered by our policies, not targeted and deported.

 

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The DACA program was first implemented in 2012. DACA aims to postpone or defer deportation proceedings for immigrants brought to the United States as children, with the possibility that their status be renewed every two years. Despite providing recipients with legal work status, DACA does not provide recipients with any healthcare coverage such as Medicaid or CHIP. DACA recipients are the only Deferred Action group who are not entitled to healthcare coverage; they have the same minimal health rights as undocumented immigrants.

From 2013 to 2015, Doctors of the World operated a free healthcare clinic in the Rockaways, New York City

Many of our patients were unable to access healthcare due to their legal status. We witnessed firsthand the painful realities for those legally barred from receiving medical attention. In addition, due to a number of recent ICE detentions like that of a Lawrence, KS chemistry professor, many undocumented immigrants – including DACA recipients – are now afraid to seek any medical care for fear of being identified by or reported to Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials.

On February 6th, it was announced that President Trump is not expected to extend the March 5th deadline – the date when DACA work permits begin to expire. Starting March 6th, this means that as many as 1,000 people per day will lose their legal status.

These young Americans are integral to the fabric of their local communities, and the United States as a whole. They should be protected from deportation and allowed to continue working and studying in the country they call home. We call on the Trump administration to extend the DACA deadline.

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