Rep. Tulsi Gabbard Discusses DACA with Maui Recipients, Examines Eroding Maui Infrastructure
Immigration reform has been one of Rep. Tulsi Gabbard’s top priorities throughout her time in Congress. On Friday, she held a roundtable discussion with Maui recipients of DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) to discuss upcoming changes to the program.
The program, initiated under Executive Order by President Obama in 2012, allows undocumented individuals who came to the United States as children and meet several guidelines to receive a renewable two-year period of “deferred action” or protection from deportation. On September 5th, the Trump administration announced it would rescind the DACA program. Members of the roundtable shared how DACA has empowered them to get their education, work, get a drivers’ license and social security number, and more. They also shared their reality of living in fear before DACA came into existence. The congresswoman also provided the group with an update on legislation she’s working on at the federal level to protect DACA recipients. She has co-sponsored two measures to protect families and children, including the DREAMer Information Protection Act (H.R. 532) which prohibits DHS’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA) from being used for immigration enforcement proceedings and the BRIDGE Act (H.R.496) which codifies the DACA program.
Rep. Gabbard released the following statement in response to the administration's decision to rescind the DACA program:
"President Trump’s decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program is wrong. It will break up families and punish young people who were brought to this country as minors through no choice or fault of their own. These are people who have grown up in the United States, and who know no other country to be their home. DACA transformed the lives and futures of hundreds of thousands of young people, in Hawaii and across the country. Because of DACA they've been able to go to college, find a job, support their family, serve their country, and live free from the constant fear of deportation.
“In my home state of Hawaii, DACA has allowed more than 600 young people to remain legally in our country and contribute to our economy and society, including a member of my staff who came to the United States as a minor from Zimbabwe. Last week on Maui, I had the opportunity to hear from some of Hawaii's DREAMers and hear their heart-wrenching stories about living in fear and in the shadows until DACA was put into effect. They cried as they shared their stories of the opportunity and freedom they have experienced because of DACA, and the fear of uncertainty in what lies ahead with the prospects of being forced to leave the only home they've ever known. Congress must act now to enact a permanent solution for these DREAMers and pass the bipartisan DREAM Act now."
Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard also toured sections of Honoapi'ilani Highway in West Maui near Olowalu Reef that are deteriorating due to rising sea levels and erosion, creating a safety and environmental hazard. The highway is the only road in and out of West Maui, an area that is home to thousands of residents and Maui’s largest tourist population. It is subject to frequent road closures due to car accidents, storms, high tides and more. The congresswoman discussed the state of the highway with the Maui Tomorrow Foundation and other community stakeholders and discussed solutions to maintain access, protect the shoreline, and keep residents safe going forward.