January 26, 2017

Van Hollen, Senate Democrats Introduce Bill to Safeguard DREAMer Data

U.S. Senator Chris Van Hollen joined Senator Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) and a group of Senate Democrats in introducing S. 229, the Protect DREAMer Confidentiality Act of 2017. The bill would safeguard the private information-such as addresses and telephone numbers-of the young immigrants known as DREAMers to ensure that they are not targeted by the Trump Administration for deportation.

The introduction of this bill comes as President Donald Trump has begun a series of executive actions on immigration that may affect the nearly 1 million DREAMers across the nation, including more than 7,000 in New Mexico, and their families. In addition to Senators Van Hollen and Heinrich, the bill is cosponsored by Senators Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.), Tom Udall (D-N.M.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), and Jack Reed (D-R.I.).

"At its core, America exists because people seeking freedom worked hard to build a better life. DREAMers today deserve that same chance,"said Van Hollen."They came out of the shadows because of their desire to get an education and contribute to our country, and in turn our government promised to protect them. It would go against the nation's founding ideals to break that promise."

"Nearly a million DREAMers across the country have come out of the shadows because of the promise that DACA represented, including more than 7,000 from New Mexico. These are some of our brightest students and veterans who volunteered their personal information to apply for the DACA Program. However, the Trump Administration now threatens to use this information against them to break families apart, deport these students or their families, and enact anti-immigrant policies that are contrary to American values," said Heinrich. "We hear again and again of the remarkable stories of DREAMers overcoming very difficult challenges in the genuine pursuit of a better life. Not only do DREAMers want to earn an education and work, they want to give back to their communities and their country. In fact, I would suggest that DREAMers don't know how to be anything but American. Over the years I've had the privilege of meeting several DREAMers in New Mexico and sharing their inspiring stories. This bill will protect the personal information they entrusted with the government and ensure that they are not targeted by our new President in his pursuit to divide the country. The President should work with us to pass comprehensive, bipartisan immigration reform that keeps families united not build walls that divide us."

Specifically, S. 229 would protect the confidentiality of information submitted in requests for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program (DACA) from disclosure to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement or U.S. Customs and Border Protection for any purpose other than implementing the DACA Program, unless there are national security concerns or other limited exception.

A copy of the bill is available HERE.