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Bread for the City Stands With Dreamers

On an almost daily basis, news from Capitol Hill threatens America’s commitment to justice. Jeff Sessions’ announcement that the Trump Administration would end the Deferred Action to Child Arrivals initiative (DACA) is just the latest example of the President’s attack on what actually makes America great. Though most of the 33,000 people Bread for the City serves each year were born U.S. citizens, more than 3,000 of our community members identify as immigrants with children, nieces, nephews and grandchildren who may be threatened by this mean spirited act.

Those affected are children and young people who have been educated and trained in the traditions, customs and norms that we value in this country. To send them to countries that they know little about and where they likely have no support for continuing their healthy growth and development is not only unjust, but also unwise.

Let’s start with unjust. More than 95% of Dreamers have adhered to the DACA requirements to attend school or work, pay taxes, avoid public benefits and obey laws. They have played by the rules, but it doesn’t matter to the Trump Administration. The Department of Homeland Security’s timeline to roll back DACA reveals that a new group of Dreamers will lose their status and benefits every single day from March 2018 until early 2020. On the very day that beneficiaries lose their status, they can lose all of their benefits. They will lose their work permits, and can be forced out of their jobs immediately. They will lose in-state college tuition in some states, and in others they will be removed from the higher education system completely. Those serving in the military could be discharged on the very day they lose their status. DACA only serves young people who have been in the country consistently since 2007; this means for so many of them, this is the only place they have to call home.

And this choice is unwise because after we have invested so much in their education, growth, development and even their dreams, it is foolish force out all of that potential, ambition and talent that would undoubtedly result in contributions to industry, civic leadership and the country’s overall dream of creating a greater America. While Sessions has stated that DACA has “denied jobs to hundreds of thousands of Americans by allowing those same jobs to go to illegal aliens”, that isn’t the case. According to pro-immigration reform group, 91 percent of DACA beneficiaries are employed and cancelling the program means that 30,000 people will lose their jobs each month. The Center for American Progress has estimated that this would reduce U.S. gross domestic product by $433 billion over the next 10 years.

Bread for the City stands not only with our clients who are being affected by this, but also with all Dreamers, all organizations, and all local and national leaders who have protested this un-American decision. We will not only continue to serve the families of Dreamers, but we will continue to fight for their right to pursue their dreams here in the United States.

George Jones, CEO

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