MADISON, Wis. – Attorney General Josh Kaul joined a coalition of 24 attorneys general in a comment letter in support of the federal government’s efforts to preserve and fortify the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. In the comment letter, the coalition highlights the critical contributions of hundreds of thousands of Dreamers to broader public health efforts, the economy, and communities across the country — and urges the federal government to finalize regulations codifying DACA and ensuring that states can continue to benefit from the program. Since 2012, DACA has protected from deportation and extended work authorization to approximately 825,000 individuals who grew up in this country, most of whom have known no home other than the United States.
“DACA has helped provide opportunity to hundreds of thousands of people, and Dreamers have contributed to communities across the country in countless ways,” said Attorney General Josh Kaul. “The Department of Homeland Security’s proposed rule continuing DACA should be adopted.”
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 help 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 as the deadly coronavirus pandemic began to sweep through the nation and 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 and societal interests in another way: by giving its recipients the opportunity to procure employer-provided health insurance, which has been particularly critical as the states fight the COVID-19 pandemic.
In the comment letter, the coalition asserts, among other things:
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.
In filing the comment letter, Attorney General Kaul joins the attorneys general of California, New Jersey, New York, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and the District of Columbia.