Bend the Arc Urges President-elect Trump to Preserve Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)

Bend the Arc Urges President-elect Trump to Preserve Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)

January 18, 2017

Bend the Arc joined more than 100 national civil rights groups calling on President-elect Trump to preserve the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

Read the full letter:

Dear President-Elect Trump:

On behalf of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights and the undersigned organizations, we write regarding the Obama administration’s executive action on “Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals” (“DACA”). As you prepare to take office on January 20, we strongly urge you to keep the DACA program in place, so that Congress has a reasonable opportunity to adopt legislation to address this pressing human rights issue. Ending DACA – or worse, moving to deport any DACA recipients, also known as “Dreamers” – would do a grave injustice to hundreds of thousands of young immigrants raised in America, would undermine our economy, and would diminish our moral standing as a nation.

The DACA program, first announced in June 2012, provides a measure of common sense and compassion to immigrants who were brought to this country as children, have grown up here, and cannot rationally be blamed for their lack of legal immigration status. Since the program was first announced in 2012, approximately 750,000i young adults who grew up in this country have registered with the federal government, submitted to background checks, paid fees, and have worked to obtain an education. In return, DACA recipients are granted a two-year reprieve from the threat of deportation, work authorization, and the ability to move on with their lives – making valuable contributions to the communities in which they live, to the businesses that rely on their skills and their willingness to work hard, and to our economy and social fabric as a whole. Many have gone on to raise families of their own, and a number of them have even volunteered to serve in our military. Simply put, DACA recipients are among the most sympathetic and compelling cases that exist under our immigration system today.

If you choose to move forward on your pledge to end this program, the disruption to these 750,000 lives, and to the people close to them, including lawful permanent residents and U.S. citizens, will be swift and severe. And because DACA also provides work authorization, its repeal would also cause significant upheaval to businesses that have grown to rely on the work of Dreamers, and the communities that benefit from their contributions.

Any move to deport Dreamers would be even worse. It is beyond question that the American public supports reasonable and fair immigration reforms, ones that include putting unauthorized immigrants on a path to citizenship – and this public would be deeply troubled by a decision to expel immigrants who, having arrived as minor children, have acted fully consistently with the best of American values and who are, for all intents and purposes, American. Induced by the Department of Homeland Security’s promise not to use their information for enforcement purposes except for in very limited circumstances, DACA recipients submitted their personal information to that agency. It would be particularly inhumane for your administration to change that policy and use the information provided by DACA applicants in good faith against them or their families for enforcement purposes. It would also undermine the public’s faith in our government. Needless to say, the impact of DACA deportations on families, employers, and communities would also be profound, and would diminish our values as a nation.

As such, your pledge to end the DACA program presents a tremendous policy, political, and moral dilemma. There is, however, a very reasonable intermediate solution. A bipartisan group of Senators and Members of the House of Representatives have introduced the “BRIDGE Act,” which would provide Dreamers with a temporary reprieve from deportation on terms similar to DACA, but with the explicit backing of Congress. While we have strong moral reservations about legislation that does not provide Dreamers with a path to citizenship, and though the BRIDGE Act is no substitute for the comprehensive immigration reform our country needs, something must be done quickly to assuage the fear and anxiety of DACA recipients. The BRIDGE Act merits your unconditional support and we hope you will work with Congress to see it swiftly enacted into law and will maintain DACA until such a legislative solution can be reached and implemented.

Thank you for considering our request on this vital human rights matter. If you have any questions, please contact Wade Henderson, President & CEO of The Leadership Conference, at (202) 466-3311.


The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights 
9to5, National Association of Working Women 
Philip Randolph Institute 
Alliance for Citizenship 
Alliance For Justice 
American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) 
American Association of University Women 
American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) 
American Federation of Teachers, AFL-CIO 
American Jewish Committee (AJC) 
American Psychological Association 
America's Voice Education Fund  
Anti-Defamation League 
Arab American Institute
Asian Americans Advancing Justice | AAJC 
Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance, AFL-CIO (APALA) 
Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum 
Association of Asian Pacific Community Health Organizations (AAPCHO) 
Association of University Centers on Disabilities 
Bend the Arc Jewish Action 
The Center for Law and Social Policy 
Center for Reproductive Rights 
Children’s Defense Fund 
Civil Rights Project 
Coalition of Black Trade Unionists 
Coalition on Human Needs 
Congregation of Sisters of St. Agnes 
Democrats for Education Reform 
Disability Rights Education & Defense Fund 
Disability Rights International 
Dream Action Coalition (DRM) 
The Education Trust 
Equal Rights Advocates 
Family Equality Council 
Friends Committee on National Legislation 
Forward Together 
Futures Without Violence 
Global Justice Institute 
Hindu American Foundation 
Hispanic National Bar Association 
Human Rights Campaign H
uman Rights Watch 
Immigrant Legal Resource Center 
Immigration Equality Action Fund 
International Association of Official Human Rights Agencies (IAOHRA) 
International Association of Women in Radio and Television USA, INC. (IAWRT) 
Japanese American Citizens League (JACL) 
Jewish Council for Public Affairs 
Justice and Witness Ministry of the United Church of Christ 
Justice Policy Institute 
LatinoJustice PRLDEF 
Latino Commission on AIDS 
Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law 
League of Women Voters of the United States 
League of United Latin American Citizens
Marianist Social Justice Collaborative Steering Committee 
Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund 
Metropolitan Community Churches 
NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. 
NAFSA: Association of International Educators 
National Advocacy Center of the Sisters of the Good Shepherd 
National Asian Pacific American Women's Forum 
National Association for Bilingual Education 
National Black Justice Coalition 
National Center for Lesbian Rights 
National Center for Transgender Equality 
National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs 
National Council of Asian Pacific Americans (NCAPA) 
National Council of Churches 
National Council of Jewish Women 
National Council of La Raza 
National Down Syndrome Congress 
National Education Association 
National Employment Law Project 
National Health Law Program (NHeLP) 
National Hispanic Media Coalition 
National Immigration Law Center 
National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health 
National LGBTQ Task Force 
National Network for Arab American Communities 
National Organization for Women 
National Partnership for Women & Families 
National Women's Law Center 
NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice 
OCA - Asian Pacific American Advocates 
Oxfam America 
People For the American Way 
PFLAG National 
Planned Parenthood Federation of America
Self-Help Credit Union 
Service Employees International Union 
Sexuality Information and Education Council of the U.S. (SIECUS) 
Sisters of Charity, BVM 
Sister of Mercy of the Americas 
South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT) 
Southeast Asia Resource Action Center (SEARAC) 
Southern Poverty Law Center 
The Stuart Center for Mission, Educational Leadership and Technology 
The United Church of Christ 
United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW) 
Transcend Legal 
Union for Reform Judaism 
Voices for Progress 
Voto Latino 
Witness to Mass Incarceration 
Woodhull Freedom Foundation 


PDF version of letter