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News Brief: Berkshire Immigrant Center stands with DREAMers

By Wednesday, Sep 6, 2017 News

Berkshire Immigrant Center stands with DREAMers after Trump administration abandons DACA

Pittsfield — “You are not alone.” That’s the message from Berkshire Immigrant Center director Brooke Mead to those who would be affected by the DREAM Act and other foreign-born residents of Berkshire County after an announcement Tuesday by the Trump administration that it plans to rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions said Tuesday that President Trump has decided to abolish DACA, which gave a temporary route to avoid deportation to roughly 800,000 young immigrants who were brought to the United States as children. The young people have been in the country for at least 10 years and are registered with the government, and 97 percent are working and/or going to school. Existing deferred action status for all will now expire as of Monday, March 5, 2018.

Mead said, “The new federal action will create significant concern for the estimated 10,000 immigrants in Berkshire County as they face yet another anti-immigrant message from this White House. Unwelcoming messages to any immigrant group create fear about legal rights and future policies for undocumented immigrants as well as those who have a legal status. Under this administration, our services are needed more than ever.”

BIC is the only program in Berkshire County that focuses exclusively on meeting the unique challenges of a continuously growing immigrant and refugee population. BIC provides services to more than 800 clients annually, from more than 70 different countries. BIC assists immigrants in making successful economic, psychological and cultural adjustments, helping to ensure they can live up to their full potential and become active community members.

A Department of Homeland Security memo states that the Trump administration won’t consider new applications for DACA dated after Sept. 5, 2017; however, current DACA recipients whose statuses will expire prior to Monday, March 5, 2018, can apply for renewal but must do so by Thursday, Oct. 5, 2017.

“The Center hopes that the termination of DACA will finally force bipartisan action in Congress for a permanent path to citizenship for the Dreamers,” Mead added. She urged supporters to contact their Senators and Representatives to support the bipartisan DREAM Act. President Trump has challenged Congress to take action in the next six months.

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