Reaching out when we need each other most

As we prepared to send a message to share our deep concerns about the Trump Administration’s decision earlier this week to rescind DACA, dramatic natural disasters have overwhelmed our thoughts. So many people all across our hemisphere have been confronted by nature’s awesome, unimaginable strength. Thoughts and prayers for safety and well-being extend from all of us at JCCA to all of your loved ones, friends, and communities that have been impacted.

The Trump Administration’s plans to rescind DACA (the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program) may also seem unimaginable to some. Thanks to DACA, approximately 800,000 young people (“Dreamers”) who entered the country as minors without legal immigration status have had the opportunity to live, learn, and work in the United States without constant fear of deportation. The uncontroverted data about their success and contribution to America’s economy, through going to school, paying taxes and building productive lives, is compelling.

Rescinding DACA leaves these 800,000 young people vulnerable to deportation — and the stress and anxiety associated with the prospect of leaving their families, friends, and lives for countries they have barely known or don’t know at all. It also deals a major blow to what America represents for so many of us who have families that have come to this country seeking safety and opportunity.

JCCA’s history is one of caring for immigrant children. Like many of you, I have spent much of my career advocating for justice on behalf of young people based largely on the challenges my own parents overcame – both as refugees and immigrants. They say that history repeats itself. This week’s action by our government reminds us how true and painful that can be for the most vulnerable among us.

Like the children JCCA serves, Dreamers are at an enormous disadvantage in life through no fault of their own. We owe it to the Dreamers and their families, just as we owe it to the families we encounter in our offices every day, to do everything we can to repair the world, child by child. For its part, Congress now has six months to craft and approve a bill that will replace DACA. We sincerely hope that this legislative fix will happen promptly. A future without a concrete policy and path forward is an unacceptable outcome for too many young people with the very hopes and dreams that make America great.

If you or a family member is affected by DACA, the storms, fires, or earthquake, JCCA stands with you and with all of our clients and their families. I recognize that these developments are highly upsetting on so many levels and trust that it will only reinvigorate all of us as we care for our clients, fight for justice for our clients, and support one another as best we can. That is why we are here.

Take care,

Ronald E. Richter, CEO