News & Media

Faith Leaders and DACA Recipients Urge President Trump to Abandon Plans to Unravel the Life-Changing Policy

PICO National Network

January 23, 2017

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                     CONTACT: Jennifer Farmer, 202.306.0136

January 23, 2017                                            Email: jfarmer@piconetwork.org


Faith Leaders and DACA Recipients Urge President Trump to Abandon Plans to Unravel the Life-Changing Policy

DACA Recipient Says She Experiences Daily Migraines, Sleepless Nights, and Panic Attacks Anticipating Possible Repeal


WASHINGTON – Faith leaders with PICO National Network, the largest network of congregations and faith-based groups in the nation, today condemned President Trump’s impending attack on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. DACA is a widely popular policy offering temporary to more than 750,000 children who were brought to this country by parents who were undocumented at the time. It allows recipients to work, obtain an education, and contribute to their local communities.

“The uncertainty of not knowing whether DACA will be taken away today, tomorrow, next week, or next year is affecting me physically and emotionally,” said Nanci Palacios, a DACA recipient and an organizer with Faith in Florida, a PICO National Network member organization. “I’m experiencing daily migraines, sleepless nights, and anxiety attacks. I try to remain calm by telling myself that everything might be okay, but deep down inside, I know things will not be okay. I’m unable to plan as far as a week in advance because I’m uncertain of my status in this country. Not having DACA means I will be forced back into a low-paying job; one that might profit from exploiting undocumented immigrants like me. I would be forced to leave college, and abandon my dream of becoming an attorney. I would no longer have health insurance. I would no longer have a driver’s license. I would not be able to keep the lights on in my parents’ home. I would be unable to apply for advance parole to visit my sick grandmother. I would be unable to leave my house without fearing being detained and deported. My family could be separated at any minute, all with a stroke of a pen! Absolutely no one should have to live through this kind of uncertainty. My message to President Trump and others is simple — repealing DACA has consequences.”

“Just days after being sworn in as the 45th president, Donald Trump launched a far-reaching and morally indefensible attack on families by promising to unravel DACA,” said Eddie Carmona, campaign director for PICO National Network’s LA RED initiative. “Mr. Trump is not seeking to dismantle the program because it presents a threat, but to feed narrowly-prescribed standards on who is given the opportunity to live freely in America. While there is no compelling reason for eliminating DACA, we stand to lose a great deal with a repeal. Revoking DACA will drive immigrant communities underground and prevent them from coming forward if they, or someone they know, are victims of crime. It will also cost the economy hundreds of millions of dollars and compromise America’s standing in the world. This isn’t something President Trump ‘has’ to do, it’s something he wants to do.”

Threatening to repeal DACA is consistent with the tone and tenor of Mr. Trump’s presidential campaign. Throughout the campaign, he stoked racial animus, promoted xenophobia, and brazenly threatened aspiring Americans, religious minorities, and other already vulnerable communities. While he may be seeking to fulfill a campaign promise, America is at its best when all people are treated with dignity and given every opportunity to succeed.

“After the 2016 presidential election, I shared that while there was a lot we did not know, we took President Trump at his word,” said Scott Reed, executive director of PICO National Network. “We had, and have, every reason to believe he would fulfill his campaign promises to construct a wall at the southern border, expand racial profiling through stop-and-frisk policies, detain and deport millions of undocumented immigrants, and repeal important policies such as the Affordable Care Act and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. Such tactics will create fear and adversely impact millions of hard-working people. They’re also a harbinger of things to come.”

“My dad was in horrible car accident and was unable to walk for over a year,” said Viviana Arciniega, a DACA recipient and a leader with CAFé New Mexico, a PICO National Network member organization. “He couldn’t work and my mom didn’t work either — in addition to serving as my dad’s caregiver, my mom also cared for my infant sibling. Fortunately, because of DACA, I could work and provide financial support for my family and me. If President Trump repeals DACA, I will be unable to help my family or fulfill my dream of becoming a nurse. This is earth shattering because I deeply value education; once you have it, no one can take it away from you.”

“President Trump must support policies that protect and keep families together,” Carmona said. “He should remember that we are judged not by how we treat those who are safe and secure, but how we treat our neighbors. PICO National Network, through its federations, will continue its advocacy and training work on behalf of targeted communities. This includes recruiting and preparing congregations to serve as sanctuaries or safe havens for undocumented immigrants and others. We know we are not without power, and we will not be deterred.”