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Image of the Virginia AG Seal

Commonwealth of Virginia
Office of the Attorney General

Mark Herring
Attorney General

202 North Ninth Street
Richmond, Virginia 23219

 

For media inquiries only, contact:  
Michael Kelly, Director of Communications
Phone: (804)786-5874 
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

STATEMENT OF ATTORNEY GENERAL HERRING

~ On President Trump's decision to dismantle DACA ~

RICHMOND( September 5, 2017)-Attorney General Mark R. Herring released the following statement condemning President Trump's plan to terminate the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Attorney General Herring and 19 fellow state attorneys general previously wrote President Trump urging him to maintain the program and committed to supporting the effort to defend DACA against potential legal challenges:

 

"This decision is harmful and heartless. It will hurt our economy, make our communities less safe, and literally tear families apart. Instead of focusing on dangerous gang members and violent felons, the Trump Administration will now be in the business of picking up and throwing out teenagers and young people who were brought here as children, have lived responsible, productive lives, and know no home but Virginia. DACA is one of our nation's most sensible and broadly supported immigration programs. Business leaders, faith leaders, and elected officials from both parties agree it is the right thing to do morally and economically. Its 12,000 recipients in Virginia came forward in good faith out of a desire to continue to work, learn, and contribute to their home community. They deserve better than to be thrown to the curb by President Trump in an attempt to please an extreme fringe of anti-immigrant zealots."

 

Recipients of DACA, often called DREAMers, are young people who were brought to the United States at a young age without proper immigration documentation. In order to receive DACA status, a young person must come forward and apply for deferred action. To qualify, the applicant must have been brought to the United States at a young age, continually resided in the United States for the last ten years, be in school or the military, and have a clean criminal record.

 

More than 12,000 young people in Virginia have been approved for DACA according to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services. These young people are now in school or working in Virginia and it is estimated that removing them from the workforce would cost Virginia more than $711 million in annual GDP losses.

 

Nationwide, nearly 800,000 young people have been approved for DACA, and it is estimated that ending DACA would result in a loss of approximately $460 billion from the national GDP over the next decade. For this reason, business leaders and CEOs from some of America's largest companies, including Apple, Amazon, Microsoft, General Motors, Facebook, HP, Starbucks, and more have written an open letter to President Trump and Congressional leaders expressing their support for the program.

 

A recent poll showed that nearly 80% of Americans believe that DREAMers should be allowed to remain in their home communities in the United States, rather than deported back to countries they may not have been to in decades and where they may have no connections.

 

A recent survey of more than 3,000 DACA recipients found that:

  • The average age of arrival was 6.5 years old
  • 45% have a parent, sibling, spouse, or child who is a US citizen
  • 91% were employed, as opposed to only 44% before receiving DACA
  • 65% reported pursuing educational opportunities that were previously off limits for them
  • Nearly three quarters were pursuing a bachelor's degree or higher

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