FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Friday, March 27, 2020
CONTACT: Susana Flores susana@communicationsshop.us (915) 525-2434
Daniela Rambal daniela@communicationsshop.us (202) 945-8320

CASA Members Among Group of Plaintiffs Demanding Continuation of DACA Program Amidst Coronavirus Pandemic

WASHINGTON – In light of the unprecedented Coronavirus epidemic sweeping the nation, CASA and its allies within the Home is Here coalition, are asking the U.S. Supreme Court to consider the role of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients in fighting the pandemic and the dire consequences that such a decision could have on an extremely battered health care system.

In a letter to the U.S. Supreme Court filed today, coalition members argued that this is no time to hand down a decision that could infuse chaos into the community. In the event that the Supreme Court makes an unfavorable decision against allowing the 700,000 DACA recipients to stay, it would put the lives of young immigrants all across the country on hold, leaving them at risk for deportation and with even greater uncertainty in this unprecedented global pandemic.

The case is set to be decided any time from now until June and could impact thousands of DACA holders across the country, many of whom are working on the front lines to protect our communities from COVID-19.

Jose Aguiluz is a CASA activist and nurse from Montgomery County, Maryland, and a plaintiff on CASA’s litigation challenging the Trump Administration’s cancellation of DACA.

“Every day I am going to work to protect our communities and treat my patients. Already there are not enough health care workers to meet the increasing demands in this pandemic. I am literally risking my life every time I walk into a hospital to go to work, and I can’t imagine how the government would choose to make life-changing decisions like whether or not to continue the DACA program when we are literally all fighting for our lives right now. We are calling for this case to be withdrawn and for Congress to extend existing work permits” Aguiluz said. “Already this pandemic has affected the renewal process of thousands who now face delays due to the USCIS closure.”

The demand comes on the heels of a Congressional stimulus agreement that explicitly excludes most immigrant families from economic relief benefits or access to health care.

For 20-year-old college student Mitzi Colin, a DACA holder and CASA activist from Chester County, Pennsylvania, this is disappointing but not surprising. As a census promoter supporting CASA’s census outreach program, Mitzi continues to educate and encourage her community to stand up and be counted.

“We are here, and we are contributing. We have to stand up and be counted to get the representation and resources that we deserve,” Colin said. “The census is already at risk of a huge undercount from this pandemic. If the Supreme Court rules while we are under a state of emergency, it would only increase the heightened state of worry everyone in America is feeling right now. The best way to make it through this as a country is by joining together and making sure everyone has the resources they need regardless of immigration status.”

CASA, along with the national Home is Here coalition and plaintiffs from all of the cases on this issue, call on the Supreme Court to not turn their backs on immigrant youth and will continue to fight for and empower immigrant communities and allies to take action.

“It is important that we hold our government accountable, and not allow this administration to dissolve solutions that have helped thousands become more productive members of American culture and society,” Colin said.

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With over 100,000 members across the states of Maryland, Virginia, and South-Central Pennsylvania, CASA is the largest member-based Latino and immigrant organization in the mid-Atlantic region.  CASA organizes with and litigates on behalf of low-wage immigrants.  More information about CASA can be found at www.wearecasa.org and on Twitter at @CASAforall.