SAN JUAN, Texas – Rio Grande Valley community group La Unión Del Pueblo Entero (LUPE) held a press conference on Wednesday, July 6 to pledge its support for DACA and DACA recipients.

DACA stands for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. It is an immigration policy first introduced as an executive order by President Obama that allows some individuals with an undocumented presence in the U.S. – after being brought into the country as children – to receive a two-year period of deferred action from deportation. It also makes them eligible for employment. DACA recipients are known as Dreamers.

The future of DACA was thrown into doubt after a ruling last summer by U..S District Court Judge Andrew Hanen of Brownsville. The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals was hearing oral arguments in the Texas v. United States DACA case in New Orleans on the day of LUPE’s news conference.

“These young Dreamers, who have worked hard everyday in this country and who contribute millions of dollars annually in Texas, have been victims of the messages of division and hatred perpetrated by our state and federal leaders,” said Joaquin Garcia, a community organizer with LUPE.

At the news conference, Garcia was highly critical of state leaders like Texas Gov. Greg Abbot and Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton. He said they continue to display “anti-immigrant rhetoric and attacks on DACA (in order) to continue to build more strength in their base and stay in power.”

Garcia said: “They use divide and conquer tactics because they know it is the only way to carry out their evil plans. They want us to blame immigrants for what is happening in the country when in reality the immigrant community is one of the strongest pillars that has made this country a diverse and welcoming nation.”

Garcia told the Rio Grande Guardian: “It is time for the Biden administration and Congress to seriously work on immigration reform and finally provide permanent protection for these Dreamers and the more than the 11 million immigrants who reside in this country. Enough of having these young people live with the uncertainty of what their future will be if DACA is struck down.”

Abraham Diaz, a  former DACA recipient, says DACA has “changed his life” for the better. He said it has allowed him to live a more full life. But, he said, “the DACA program is not enough.”

Diaz explained: “It’s been a decade since the program started and we still have this band-aid of a program. We do not have a permanent solution to the big issue at hand. What we need is somebody to stand up, fight for our community and say ‘yes, this community of 11 million does need permanent protection.’ Their attack on DACA right now in New Orleans is the complete opposite of what we need. If they were true leaders, they (the State of Texas) would stop that fight. They would stop their attacks on DACA.”

Garcia agreed.

“We are joining hundreds of organizations doing similar events across the country because of the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals hearing arguments today and we want to make a stance today with the community. (To tell them) that we are here for them and joining their effort to maintain DACA and eventually to create a pathway to citizenship,” Garcia said.

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