It is estimated by the UCLA School of Law’s Williams Institute that there are more than 75,000 LGBTQ Dreamers in the U.S. Dreamers are those who would have qualified under the DREAM Act had it passed. DREAM stands for Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act, which was designed to provide a way for undocumented immigrants who arrived in the U.S. as children to gain a pathway to become permanent citizens.
Of that 75,000, 36,000 were participants in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. DACA allowed undocumented immigrants who entered the U.S. before 16 a temporary work authorization and protection from deportation for two years, until renewal. However, DACA was ended by the Trump administration last year, meaning that the program will run out at different times for different people. By March 5, 2020, the last DACA authorization will end, according to Department of Homeland Security officials.
Now, CenterLink, a community of LGBT Centers across the U.S. and around the world, is working to pass legislation to prevent DACA holders from losing their status. So far, nearly 15,000 have been affected.
According to a CenterLink press release, this means they will “lose work permits, jobs and the ability to support their families. They will be subject to being arrested, detained and deported to countries they barely remember. These are our friends, neighbors and co-workers.”
CenterLink advises anyone interested in making a difference to send a letter to a congressional leader at http://gaybe.am/Rq or by calling 1-888-778-6856.