PROVIDENCE — In the wake of a new attempt by the administration of President Donald Trump to dismantle the federal Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, congressional candidate Darren Parry of Providence voiced unqualified support for so-called “Dreamers.”
“Americans – both Republicans and Democrats – overwhelmingly agree that DACA recipients not only belong here, but also deserve a pathway to citizenship,” Parry says. “It is up to Congress to listen to the American people and come up with a solution that will protect these amazing young people.”
Parry, a former leader of the Northwestern Band of the Shoshone Nation tribe in Brigham City, is the Democratic candidate running to replace outgoing U.S. Rep. Rob Bishop in Utah’s 1st Congressional District.
The DACA program is a U.S. immigration policy implemented by presidential executive order in 2012 that allows some individuals who illegally entered the United States as children to receive a renewable two-year period of exemption from deportation. Under DACA, those individuals can also be eligible for permits to legally work in the United States.
Unlike the so-called DREAM Act proposed by congressional Democrats, DACA does not provide a path to U.S. citizenship.
Since taking office in 2017, Trump has repeatedly criticized the DACA program as an executive overreach by former President Barack Obama.
The Trump administration has not accepted DACA applications since 2017, but has allowed current permit holders to renew their status in two-year intervals.
The White House’s previous effort to dismantle DACA was recently barred by a 5-4 Supreme Court ruling on procedural grounds. But a memo from the Department of Homeland Security issued Tuesday appears intended to gradually phase out parts of DACA under the guise of a “comprehensive review of the program’s legality.”
Under the new DHS guidelines, the renewal period for DACA recipients has been shortened from two years to one year and the administration’s policy of refusing to accept new DACA applications will continue.
Parry’s response to the DHS memo was similar in tone to that of the American Civil Liberties Union and other liberal groups.
“I support our Dreamers,” Parry argued. “In a 2017 poll, 71 percent of Utahns believed in protecting these men and women, boys and girls, who immigrated to our country with their parents … A vote for me is a vote to defend Dreamers.”
At a White House press conference on Tuesday, Trump avoided specifics when questioned about DACA, but promised to make “everybody happy” with “a fantastic merit-based immigration system.”
Parry agrees that comprehensive immigration reform is needed in America and pledges to make that one of his top priorities if elected to Congress.
Parry will face off against GOP candidate Blake Moore of Salt Lake City in the general election in November.