June 16, 2020 Press Releases

ICYMI: Mark Kelly Discusses Upcoming Supreme Court Decision on DACA and Future of Dreamers with Arizona Advocates


Today, Mark Kelly was joined by Karina Ruiz de Diaz, Executive Director of AZ Dream Act Coalition, State Rep. Raquel Terán, and immigration attorney Ray Ybarra Maldonado to talk about the upcoming Supreme Court decision on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program and the impact it could have on Arizona Dreamers.

Currently, the DACA program allows Arizona Dreamers who immigrated here as young children to live and work in America freely. Kelly and the others discussed the uncertainty that Dreamers find themselves in as they await the Supreme Court decision on the future of the DACA program, and the urgent need to pass the DREAM Act to provide Dreamers with a pathway to citizenship. They also shared where Arizona Dreamers can go to for help with legal, financial and mental health resources.

Kelly has previously voiced his support for Dreamers, and has urged Congress to vote on the DREAM Act to provide Dreamers with an earned pathway to citizenship.

Watch full video HERE.

Here are some highlights:

On the importance of the DACA program for Arizona

MARK KELLY [00:50]: This month’s impending decision throws the future of Dreamers into uncertainty. Now I’ve had the honor of meeting and learning from DACA recipients here in Arizona who are small business owners, they’re often frontline workers dealing with this pandemic, and they can be teachers. Many of them are the sole breadwinners in their households. Dreamers — and I’ve always said this and feel this so strongly — Dreamers are just as American as my own two daughters. Their contributions make Arizona better and stronger.

On how Arizonans could be impacted by the upcoming SCOTUS decision

KARINA RUIZ [13:50]: What it means for Dreamers in Arizona is we’re going to be put in risk of deportation if we are stopped by police because of a broken tail light. Any kind of law enforcement encounter. […] The reality is that it’s going to be a higher risk for DACA recipients and it’s something our families are facing currently.

REP. RAQUEL TERÁN [16:36]: In many instances we see that people who are DACA recipients are the main providers of households. That would be also an economic impact. Here in Arizona we have an estimated 28,000 people who have DACA and about 24,000 are in our workforce. That would also affect the economy of the state of Arizona.

On the need for Congress to pass the DREAM Act

TERÁN [17:49]: The support for the DREAM Act is more than 80% in favor of passing such legislation by Republicans and by Independents. It’s very popular. […] There is that support in Congress. We just need to see that political will. People have been very diligent of sharing their stories and very courageous, like I said before. We need to continue the pressure both in the Senate and the House to get the DREAM Act passed.

RAY YBARRA MADLONADO [26:40]: Those of us who are allies, those of us who are privileged to be citizens also need to be on the streets demanding a stand alone bill that solves this problem once and for all. […] This is the problem, it’s a mental health crisis. These individuals who have committed their information to the government and now fear being deported. They need to be given a path to residency and then citizenship and everybody needs to get involved to help that out.

RUIZ [13:05]: Young immigrants like myself, if I face deportation, I’ll be separated from my children just like other DACA recipients in the state. We are no longer in high school. We have aged out […] DACA was supposed to last 2 or 4 years while Congress got everything together and really provided a pathway to citizenship. All they had to do was roll their sleeves and pass the DREAM Act. And it has been eight years.

Watch the full video HERE.