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Pou, Vitale, Ruiz Measure Urging Congress to Enact Legislation to Codify DACA Program Advances

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TRENTON – A resolution sponsored by Senators Nellie Pou, Joseph F. Vitale and M. Teresa Ruiz urging Congress to enact legislation to codify the provisions of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program to protect young undocumented immigrants who arrived to the country at a young age was approved today by the Senate State Government, Wagering, Tourism & Historic Preservation Committee.
“When DACA was implemented by President Obama, Dreamers finally came out of the shadows to proudly pursue their dreams to become part of the workforce of American society,” said Senator Pou (D-Bergen/Passaic). “As lawmakers we have an obligation to protect them so they can continue working and studying in this great state. This resolution urges Congress to take action and to make DACA law.”
“DACA recipients are an integral part of our community. They are our neighbors, friends, and co-workers, our family members, classmates and employees, and they contribute enormously to our state,” said Senator Vitale (D-Middlesex). “We need immigration reform in order to fully realize our potential but, until then, codifying DACA is critically important for the future of Dreamers.”
“We are committed to working to protect those who have contributed greatly to our culture and to making New Jersey one of the most diverse places in the country,” said Senator Ruiz (D-Essex). “I urge Congress to take a stand and to ensure that Dreamers are able to continue living, working, studying and making a life for themselves and their families in the United States.”
The measure, SR-143, would urge the Congress of the United States to enact legislation to take immediate action to codify the provisions of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program to protect thousands of young people who were brought to the United States as children to remain in the country.
In 2012, former President Obama established, by executive action, the DACA program. Under the program, people who came to the United States as children and met several key guidelines would not face deportation for two years, and could then apply to renew their status as a DACA recipient. Immigrants who were approved would also be eligible for work authorization. Nearly 800,000 DACA recipients have received approval to go to school and work legally in the United States. New Jersey has over 22,000 young immigrants participating in the program.
According to a Pew Research Center study, an estimated 1.1 million DACA-eligible immigrants living in the United States in 2014, 78% had applied for protections under the program.
Copies of the resolution will be sent to the President of the United States, the Majority and Minority Leaders of the United States Senate, to the Speaker and Minority Leader of the United States House of Representatives, and to every member of Congress elected from this State.
The resolution cleared the Senate State Government, Wagering, Tourism & Historic Preservation Committee with a vote of 3-0-1. It next goes to the full Senate for a vote.