Las Vegas, NV – September 22, 2021
Today, the Governor’s Office for New Americans (ONA) and the NSHE All Access Committee hosted a meeting with Governor Steve Sisolak and immigrant students from Southern Nevada to discuss the future of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and efforts at the federal level to bring relief to Dreamers, Temporary Protective Status (TPS) holders, and farm and essential workers.
On July of this year, Federal Judge Andrew S. Hanen of the United States District Court in Houston issued a ruling against the DACA program deeming it unlawful and effectively blocking the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) from approving new DACA applications. This was a devastating blow to the DACA-eligible population that had recently become eligible to apply again after new DACA applications were paused for over three years under the previous administration.
“Our DACA recipients and DACA-eligible population have always been part of the fabric of Nevada and I am proud of the talents, skills, and contributions - especially during this COVID-19 pandemic - that they bring to our great State,” said Governor Steve Sisolak. “Today, I got to hear directly from them. They told me about the uncertainty they have dealt with over the years, but I also had the opportunity to see firsthand just how resilient our Dreamers are and how much better Nevada is because of them. Dreamers and the rest of the immigrant community have waited too long and worked so hard for the good of the United States and it is time that Congress delivers them a path to citizenship.”
As DACA recipients continue to wait on pending litigation on the future of DACA, Congress has been pushing for a more permanent solution and efforts were underway to include a pathway to citizenship for Dreamers, TPS holders, and farm and essential workers in the Democratic authored $3.5 trillion budget bill. On September 19, 2021, the non-partisan Senate Parliamentarian determined that the immigration provisions were not substantially budget-related and ruled that legalization for the 8 million people within these groups could not be included on the budget bill.
“The ruling from the Senate Parliamentarian was devastating to the millions of immigrants who have given so much, especially during the pandemic, and have created a life for themselves and their families in this country and in our State,” said Charina de Asis, Director of the Governor’s Office for New Americans. “We need lasting protections for the millions of undocumented immigrants who are critical to the future of this country and of Nevada. My office remains committed to supporting our immigrant students, their families, and all immigrant populations in our state.”
In this meeting, immigrant students were able to share with the Governor how they and their families are being impacted by the current state of immigration in our country. The NSHE All Access Committee, which was founded in 2014 to help build a comprehensive, state-wide support system providing tangible resources and on-campus support for students who are undocumented or who received Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), as well as immigrant students under other statuses such as Temporary Protected Status (TPS), helped lead the conversation.
“More than ever, undocumented students and families across Nevada need educators and community members to be fierce advocates for immigration reform,” said Mariana Sarmiento Hernandez, Co-Chair of the NSHE All Access Committee. “Undocumented students make our state vibrant and strong. But the incredible challenges that students face to achieving higher education, safety, and equal access to opportunities are critical and urgent.”
ONA will continue to work closely with the NSHE All Access Committee to ensure that immigrant students and their families continue to receive support and the necessary resources as they continue to navigate these stressful times.