September 05, 2017

Van Hollen Statement on DACA

Today U.S. Senator Chris Van Hollen issued the following statement on President Trump's decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program:

"Today I think about Jorge Steven Acuña's story. In 2001, when Steven was just 8 years old, his family came to the United States after his mother began receiving death threats. For nearly 16 years since arriving from Colombia, Steven and his family have lived and worked in this country as productive, law-abiding citizens. But in 2012, having been denied the political asylum they sought in America, they were yanked from their Germantown home and locked up in a detention center on Maryland's Eastern Shore.

"The Acuña family reached out to my Congressional office and we joined forces with advocacy organizations, immigration lawyers, and local leaders to make sure they stayed where they belonged - right here in Maryland. And thanks to the DACA program, Steven just graduated with a bachelor's degree in chemical engineering from the University of Maryland and aspires to be an orthopedic surgeon.

"The Trump Administration's decision to rescind the DACA program is taking our country backwards. Over its five-year history, DACA has helped nearly 800,000 young people pursue higher education and grow our economy. Ending this program will cost our economy over $460.3 billion over ten years and displace over 685,000 workers vital to businesses in Maryland and across the nation.

"It's important to go after gangs like MS-13, but it is an insult to decency and common sense for DREAMers, like Steven, to be targeted for deportation. At its core, America exists because people seeking freedom worked hard to build a better life. DREAMers today deserve that same chance. 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. We cannot let the Trump Administration get away with tearing apart innocent families and wreaking havoc on our economy in Maryland."