Councilmember M. Lorena González (Position 9, Citywide), chair of the Council’s Gender Equity, Safe Communities & New Americans Committee, issued the following statement in response to Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ announcement on Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals’ (DACA) rescission:
“Today’s announcement by President Trump’s administration demonstrates his premeditated effort to rescind protections and continue attacks intended to harm more than 11 million undocumented immigrants that live, work and pay taxes in the United States. Immigrants are critical to our workforce and power many industries such as technology, agriculture, construction, and hospitality, which keeps Seattle’s and Washington’s economy booming. This announcement could cost Washington’s economy more than $1 billion dollars in lost gross domestic product.
“DACA has helped create pathways to homeownership, gainful employment, and pursuing a better education. Further, undocumented immigrants pay local and federal taxes, with their contributions to Social Security and Medicare totaling $385.5M, while over $205M going toward state and local taxes. DACA helps hundreds of thousands of people pursue their American dream and makes our communities stronger and robust. In our state more than 43,000 of our friends, family members, neighbors and loved ones are DACA-eligible; and, of these, approximately 19,000 DACA recipients already reside in Washington State.
“Trump’s announcement is a calculated attempt to garner political points, creating unnecessary devastation to people’s lives. It’s also a threat to all of us, immigrant or not, when we have policies that destabilize our community and erode public safety and trust in law enforcement. If an immigrant, with or without DACA, is a witness or victim to a crime, they may choose to not report that crime because of their status. Inclusive policies and communities are safer and more secure for everyone, despite the callous attempts of fear mongering rhetoric to tell you otherwise.
“For me, this fight is incredibly personal. Trump’s cruel and immoral action goes beyond creating a chilling effect in immigrant communities, it is a direct threat to the safety and security of my community and many others. We will continue to resist in Washington as DACA immigrants are here to stay. I call on Congress to pass the strongest version of the bi-partisan DREAM Act. I also call on all members of our community to join us in the fight for comprehensive immigration reform.
“I also applaud our State Attorney General Bob Ferguson and his commitment to a legal fight to preserve DACA and to make it unequivocally clear to a tone-deaf President that: DACA recipients (and the hundreds of thousands who are DACA-eligible) have enriched and strengthened our communities, and they are here to stay. We have a moral imperative to stand together to defend DACA, and Seattle continues as a leader for that fight.”