Santa Ana, CA - September 5, 2017 - The Orange County Hispanic Bar Association (OCHBA) is profoundly disappointed in President Trump's decision to terminate the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program without proposed legislation to safeguard the future of these promising, young Americans. The program, which has the support of Democrats, Republicans, universities, and business leaders throughout the nation, has been a small but powerful step towards protecting those individuals who want nothing more than to contribute to the great American ideal set forth in our nation's founding documents. Through their actions, the administration has left the future of more than 800,000 DACA recipients solely in the hands of Congress stating, "the compassionate thing to do is to end unlawfulness" thus ending DACA, we strongly disagree.
Casting today's actions as a commitment to a "nation of laws" and a "humanitarian" response flies in the face of the words and actions this administration has undertaken since its inception. Compassion is acknowledging that DACA recipients are a generation who came to this country through no fault of their own, and have contributed to its rich landscape and who grew up as Americans. Now, with the onus on Congress to protect these individuals, we urge our members to use all resources at their disposal to pass legislation that provides a lasting, permanent relief for these vulnerable individuals.The criminalization of immigrant populations, simply based on their immigration status, is unacceptable and counter to American ideals.
In times like this, it is easy to get lost in the politics of ideas and forget that those affected are in fact, our friends, neighbors, employees, and family; they are Americans. To remind us of the impact this decision will have on these individuals and to underscore the importance of fighting for a legislative remedy, we leave you with words of a DACA recipient, OCHBA member and Wally Davis Scholarship recipient, Alfonso Maldonado, "Being American and a citizen is not easily defined nor acquired by a piece of paper. Being American is a state of mind. It is the embodiment of the desire, passion, and drive to learn from the past and embrace the future."
These are not the words of someone threatening our nation's freedom, safety, or prosperity; they are the embodiment of these ideals. The OCHBA proudly counts DACA recipients like Mr. Maldonado as attorney members, affiliate members and Wally Davis Scholars and as an organization remains devoted to protecting its membership and the community at-large.
Eric M. Dominguez
President of the Hispanic Bar Association of Orange County