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September 5, 2017

The Trump administration today announced the termination of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Program. The DACA program has served as a critical lifeline for nearly 800,000 young immigrants, or “Dreamers,” who came to this country as children and know the United States as their only home.

The following is a statement from ACLU of Virginia Executive Director Claire Guthrie Gastañaga, reacting to the White House announcement rescinding the DACA program:

“Five years ago, the federal government made a deal with immigrant youth: As long as you pass a criminal background check you can live, study, and work here. Hundreds of thousands of young people came out of the shadows and accepted the government’s offer in good faith and worked hard to build their lives here.

“Today, the government and President Trump went back on their word, threw the lives and futures of 800,000 Dreamers and their families into disarray, and injected chaos and uncertainty into thousands of workplaces and communities across America.

“In Virginia alone, 12,134 of our neighbors used their DACA status to give back to our country in innumerable ways: they are our doctors, soldiers, and students. These are our neighbors, family, and friends.

“Now, the fate of 800,000 young adults, who call this country their home, lies in the hands of Congress. The entire Virginia Congressional delegation should come together across party lines to support of the Dreamers and enact the comprehensive immigration reform our country so desperately needs.

“While this is a hard day for the immigrant community and America as a whole, we will continue to fight. Years of courage, sacrifices, and organizing won the DACA program in 2012. Nothing will deter these Americans and their allies in Virginia and across the country from continuing to fight on behalf of their futures and holding those who wish to crush their American dreams accountable.”

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