Attorney General Ellison supports preserving, strengthening DACA
Joins national coalition urging action to protect DACA benefits for 6,500 Minnesotans and extend them to 5,000 more
November 19, 2021 (SAINT PAUL) — Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison today joined a coalition of 24 attorneys general in supporting the federal government’s efforts to preserve and fortify the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. In a comment letter to Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Director Ur Jaddou, Attorney General Ellison and the coalition highlight the contributions of hundreds of thousands of Dreamers to the economy and communities across Minnesota and the United States, including their critical role in our country’s fight against COVID-19. They urge the federal government to finalize regulations codifying DACA and to ensure that states can continue to benefit from the program.
Since 2012, DACA has provided protection from deportation to hundreds of thousands of individuals who arrived in the United States as children, grew up in this country, and know no other home. The program also extends work authorization to DACA recipients. The new federal rules would preserve the DACA benefits already received by approximately 6,500 people in Minnesota, and they would allow up to 5,000 additional individuals living in Minnesota to apply for DACA for the first time.
“Thousands of Minnesotans who were brought here as children know no other home than our state. Like all Minnesotans, they just want to be able to afford their lives and live with dignity, safety, and respect,” Attorney General Ellison said. “I’m asking the federal government to act so that they can keep contributing to our communities.”
The DACA program has allowed recipients to live, study, and work across the United States free from the fear of being forcibly separated from their families and communities. DACA has enabled hundreds of thousands of grantees to enroll in colleges and universities, complete their education, start businesses that improve our economy, and give back to our communities as teachers, medical professionals, engineers, and entrepreneurs — all on the books.
These contributions have been especially evident during the coronavirus pandemic as thousands of DACA recipients have been on the frontlines as essential workers. As of April 2020, an estimated 27,000 healthcare workers and support staff depend on DACA for their authorization to work in the United States, including nurses, dentists, pharmacists, physician assistants, home health aides, technicians, and others. DACA has also advanced public health by giving its recipients the opportunity to procure employer-provided health insurance, which has been critical in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic.
In the comment letter, Attorney General Ellison and the coalition assert that:
- DACA has public safety and public health benefits for the states;
- The states benefit economically from DACA and DACA recipients;
- DACA and DACA recipients are important to the states’ higher education institutions;
- The states have adopted laws, regulations, and programs in reliance on DACA; and
- Opponents of DACA are unable to substantiate any alleged harms from the program.
Attorney General Ellison is joined in the letter by California Attorney General Rob Bonta, who led the coalition, and the attorneys general of Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin.
A copy of the comment letter is available on the website of California Attorney General Rob Bonta.