Washington, DC — Today is the deadline President Trump imposed for Congress to act to protect the futures of at least 800,000 immigrant youth at risk of deportation. This uncertainty for immigrant youth started when President Trump rescinded the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program six months ago. Due to President Trump’s decision to end DACA, more than 20,000 immigrant youth have already lost their jobs and protections. While Trump’s action has been slowed down by the courts temporarily, immigrant youth remain at risk of losing protection every day, affecting their ability to work, threatening their ability to access employer-sponsored health insurance, and adding stress and anxiety of living in fear and uncertainty, which has a significant impact on the health and well-being of families.
A clean Dream Act would permanently address the uncertainty that immigrant youth with DACA face, keep their families from being separated, and protect their access to health care.
Statement from Dawn Laguens, Executive Vice President, Planned Parenthood Federation of America:
It’s time for Congress to act now and immediately pass a Clean Dream Act to protect immigrant youth and their families. Dreamers and DACA recipients are part of Planned Parenthood’s community; they are our patients, our colleagues, our providers, our volunteers, and our activists. They make Planned Parenthood stronger, and they make our country stronger too. It is unacceptable that so many young people have been living with the uncertainty that they might lose access to school, jobs, and health insurance, and even be ripped from the only country they have known as home in a moment’s notice.
“We will not silently stand by as these young people are stripped of their rights and protections. With today’s deadline upon us, it is time for Congress to provide a solution to protect our immigrant youth — and that solution is to pass a clean Dream Act now.
Below are the stories of just a few of the Dreamers and DACA recipients whose fate remains in the balance:
Victoria, DACA recipient, Planned Parenthood patient and organizer
“Growing up, I was not aware of all the limitations I faced due to my lack of citizenship. It was not until I enrolled into high school that I came to the realization of not being able to do certain things that otherwise seemed so mundane like getting a driver’s license or applying for my high school’s trips abroad. [With DACA] I graduated from high school, enrolled in community college, and volunteered for different non-profit organizations that work to make a change in our community.”
Victoria has been a DACA recipient since 2014. Her mother was deported from the U.S. when and is currently on a 20-year ban from returning. Victoria didn’t have an adult at home to talk to her about sexual health, and at the age of 17, she went to the local Planned Parenthood for a pregnancy test and to receive education. She is now an organizer for Planned Parenthood in Nevada and has been instrumental in advocating for Latinas’ access to health care.
Silvia, DACA recipient, Planned Parenthood intern
“The pressures of hiding in plain sight stood in the way of my ability to access health care and further my education — until the implementation of DACA changed my life. I was able to get a license, get a minimum wage job, and apply for college. Most importantly, DACA gave me a voice. Now that it has been taken away, I do not know what my future and that of so many members of my community holds.”
Growing up, Silvia didn’t have access to health care because her parents could not afford it and were afraid that they would have to reveal their status. Silvia came to Planned Parenthood as an intern and quickly learned that Planned Parenthood proudly served patients regardless of immigration status. She felt comfortable revealing her status and took the initiative to reach out to other undocumented immigrants and let them know that Planned Parenthood is here for them and serves as a safe, reliable, and affordable resource for care and information.
Miriam, DACA recipient, Planned Parenthood supporter and activist
“I came to the U.S. when I was just eight years old. This is where I've lived since then, it's where my life is, and all I want now is to live that life with my son and my husband. But each day Congress fails to pass the Dream Act, my future is one step closer to shattering.”
Miriam came to Planned Parenthood through Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains’ education department. She took the Cuídate! sex education class offered in southern Nevada and found a passion in sex education. She became a Promotora de salud, or a community health educator who works in Latino communities for Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains.
Cheska, DACA recipient, Planned Parenthood supporter
“Being undocumented can be overwhelming for a lot of students. Through organizing and being upfront about my undocumented status, I’ve been able to create a space where people around me are more comfortable in seeking assistance.”
Cheska was six years old when she arrived in the U.S. from the Philippines with her mom and her siblings. She had a visa when she arrived — but after her family encountered hardship, she lost her status and became undocumented. Since becoming a DACA recipient, she has been able to support her family, work on a 2016 election campaign, and earn a scholarship to college.
Meagan, first-generation member of a mixed-status family, Planned Parenthood supporter
“We must pass a clean Dream Act in order to make it loud and clear that we will not stand for unjust, immoral acts by the government. This has to end, and end with a pathway to citizenship for my undocumented sisters and brothers…I am genuinely afraid of who the president will try to get rid of next: my mother? My father? Who else will we allow to be threatened?”
As a first-generation immigrant, Meagan is documented — but many of her loved ones are not. Meagan works as a program director at Make the Road Pennsylvania, where she works with immigrants and fights for legislation that will protect immigrant youth.
Planned Parenthood is one of the nation’s leading providers and advocates of high-quality, affordable health care for women, men, and young people, as well as the nation’s largest provider of sex education. With more than 600 health centers across the country, Planned Parenthood organizations serve all patients with care and compassion, with respect and without judgment. Through health centers, programs in schools and communities, and online resources, Planned Parenthood is a trusted source of reliable health information that allows people to make informed health decisions. We do all this because we care passionately about helping people lead healthier lives.