National, State Organizations Support DACA Amicus Brief

Child Advocacy Leaders, Medical Professionals, and Child Development Experts Express Support for DACA Amicus Brief 

National Organizations and Experts:

Kyle Yasuda, MD, FAAP, President; American Academy of Pediatrics:

“Rescinding the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy would have multi-generational health consequences; it not only impacts the DACA recipients themselves, but also their children. When children live in fear of their family being separated, it can have detrimental effects on their health and development, both in the short- and long-term. As pediatricians, we know children fare best when they can grow up in supportive families and thrive.”

American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children; David Corwin, President of Board; Janet Rosenzweig, Executive Director; Frank Vandervort, Chair of Amicus Committee: 

“The American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children gratefully joins many of this nation’s leading child advocacy organizations in opposing the needless termination of DACA, a critically important protection afforded to persons who arrived in the United States as children and have made lives and families here in the only home they know. The trauma that is being inflicted on the children of DACA recipients by even the threat of their parents’ deportation is cruel and serves no meaningful public policy purpose. Over time, these children and the communities in which they live will suffer greatly from this pointless infliction of harm.”

Olivia Golden, Executive Director; Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP): 

“CLASP recognizes the critical role the DACA program has played in pulling entire families out of poverty and promoting the healthy development of children. We also know from our 2018 research report that harmful immigration policies—like the Administration’s decision to terminate the DACA program—are subjecting young children to fear, instability, and reduced access to critical health and nutrition supports. We urge the Supreme Court to consider what’s at stake for hundreds of thousands of our youngest citizens and the future of our country should the DACA program be rescinded.”

James H. Hickman, MBA, CEO; Center for Youth Wellness:

“The decision to end the DACA ‘Dreamers’ policy threatens to separate families and endangers hundreds of thousands of children, many of whom have only known America as their home. Studies show the toxic stress children and adolescents experience on being separated from their parents and caregivers not only causes profound trauma, it results in toxic levels of stress that can harm their developing brains and bodies and increase their lifetime risk of disorders ranging from diabetes to depression, heart disease, cancer, addiction, and premature death. We join the American Academy of Pediatrics and hundreds of other child advocacy groups in calling on the government to uphold the DACA policy.”

Christine James-Brown, President and CEO; Child Welfare League of America:

“Two years ago, we invited a panel of ‘dreamers’ to present at our CWLA conference. To a hushed-CWLA crowd these young people described how they came to the United States as children. They shared their hopes and dreams that the United States represents both for them and their families. These DACA-protected families are a vital part of our hopes, our communities and this country’s future. We must do everything we can to block this administration’s efforts to threaten that future. That is why we join this legal brief.”

Max Lesko, National Executive Director; Children’s Defense Fund:

“The cruelty of rescinding DACA reverberates far beyond the Trump administration’s intended target and into the homes, schools, faith communities and neighborhoods of hundreds of thousands of children. DACA rescission poses an immediate threat to the health, development, economic security and well-being of children, and it must not move forward. We as a nation must commit to protecting all our children.”

Dr. Priscilla Chan, Co-Founder and Board Chair of The Primary School:

“As a pediatrician, I’ve seen firsthand how trauma can affect every aspect of kids’ lives – their ability to focus in school, to learn and remember, to enjoy their childhood free from stress, and their overall health. Hundreds of thousands of children across the country have parents who are DACA recipients — these kids should never have to live with the fear that they’ll be separated from their families. I join thousands of healthcare professionals and caregivers who work with children every day in calling for the preservation of the DACA.”

Bruce Lesley, President; First Focus on Children:

“Rescinding DACA hurts not only the beneficiaries of the program, but instills constant fear into their children, most of whom are U.S. citizens. Each day that passes without a clear path forward will only compound the negative impact on their health and well-being. It is imperative that the court consider the inhumane impact of this fear and stress on these young lives.

Jack P. Shonkoff, M.D., Director; Harvard Center on the Developing Child:

“The visible distress experienced by children threatened by the deportation of their parents is disturbing to see — but the invisible harm of excessive stress activation inside their bodies that can lead to a lifetime of problems in learning, behavior, and both physical and mental health is unquestionably preventable and would be truly tragic.”

Stacey D. Stewart, President and CEO; March of Dimes: 

“March of Dimes firmly believes that families must remain together. If DACA is rescinded, there will be irreparable harm to the health and well-being of families, including pregnant women and children. We know family separation has a direct negative impact on access to health insurance coverage and other essential public benefit programs that provide nutrition and housing assistance that families depend on for their health and well-being. Evidence suggests that the fear of deportation and related stressors leads to poor birth outcomes such as low birthweight and greater risk of preterm birth. As the leader in ensuring the health of all moms and babies, we stand firm on keeping them healthy and safe – regardless of their citizenship status.”

Angelo McClain, PhD, LICSW, Chief Executive Officer; National Association of Social Workers:

“The National Association of Social Workers (NASW) joins other child health and child welfare organizations in urging the Supreme Court to reject Trump administration’s petition to rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. A Supreme Court decision to cancel DACA would result in devastating disruptions of the health, economic stability, family stability, and emotional well-being of over 250,000 children who, for the most part, have lived in the United States since they were toddlers. Such an outcome would be unconscionable!” 

Kenneth A. Dodge, Professor of Early Learning Policy Studies at Duke University and President of the Society for Research in Child Development:

“As the nation’s leading developmental science organization, the Society for Research in Child Development (SRCD) is proud to strongly support this amicus brief. The science unequivocally points to the termination of DACA as having long-lasting and negative effects on future generations of Americans, particularly children.”

Deborah Stein, Network Director; The Partnership for America’s Children:

“Over the last few decades, many states have recognized the importance of making sure all children, including children in immigrant households, have access to the programs and services that will help them become healthy, productive members of our country. If DACA is repealed, over 250,000 citizen children will be put at risk; they are likely to be poorer, do worse in school, and be sicker both now and as adults. The Partnership for America’s Children opposes the repeal of DACA and is deeply concerned that when this decision was made, the administration did not consider the consequences for these children.”

Myra Jones-Taylor, Chief Policy Officer; ZERO TO THREE: 

“Decisions related to DACA must take into account the impact on the families these young adults have formed and particularly the well-being of their infants and toddlers. Babies thrive when they have secure, nurturing relationships free from stress—exactly the conditions disrupted by the threatened deportation of their parents. The possible deportation of DACA recipients is wrong for a multitude of reasons, but it will also have significant consequences for their children now and in the future.”

State Organizations:

Cecilia Zalkind, President and CEO; Advocates for Children of New Jersey:

“An estimated 16,830 DACA recipients were brought to New Jersey as young children. They are our classmates, our neighbors, work colleagues, our friends and members of our families. And now they are parenting an estimated 5,200 children who were born here in the United States. They are all Americans and should be allowed to stay in our communities without fear of being deported. New Jersey is their home, the only home they have ever known.”

Mary Ellen Rimsza, MD, FAAP, Advocacy Chair; The Arizona Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics: 

“Arizona’s pediatricians are joining this legal brief because DACA families and their young children are suffering physically and emotionally over fears of family separation. Over 12,000 Arizona children who are US citizens could lose their parents if DACA protections end. These children deserve to live in a safe and nurturing home but this is not possible when their parents are under the constant threat of deportation.”

Yasuko Fukuda, MD, FAAP, Chair; American Academy of Pediatrics, California:

“For over 72,000 children of DACA recipients living in California, the threat of the loss of their parents creates significant and ongoing traumatic stress with long-term negative consequences for their health and well-being. 5,000 California Pediatricians across our state stand with our patients, DACA recipients and their children, in demanding that the government protect the DACA program and keep these families together.”

Ted Lempert, President; Children Now:

“More than 72,000 children in California call a DACA recipient mom or dad. The fear and uncertainty created among these families due to the repeal of the program had a tremendous effect on the health and well-being of children. Rescinding DACA protections not only means taking away parents’ abilities to work and support their children, but also makes these families vulnerable to detention or deportation that could separate parents from their children. Keeping DACA protections in place is vital to the futures of DACA recipients and their families.”

Patrick Bresette, Executive Director; Children’s Defense Fund – Texas:

“As an organization dedicated to the health and wellbeing of all children in Texas we are alarmed at the devastating harm that rescinding DACA would cause. We work every day to help families connect their children to affordable health coverage and many of those families include DACA parents. In communities across our state nearly 50,000 children are in such households. We should be doing everything we can to support and protect these young families, not threatening their futures.”

Siman Qaasim, President and CEO; Children’s Action Alliance:

“DACA children brought here by their parents years ago are now adults. They are mothers and fathers of young children, teachers, engineers, medical personnel, business owners and vital contributors to our state and national economy. They help make up the rich fabric of our diverse community. Rescinding DACA will separate American children from their parents, plunge too many families’ lives into chaos and inflict irreversible harm on children.”

Kelly Causey, Ph.D., President and CEO; Children’s Campaign:

“If we want Colorado children to feel safe, secure and happy, then we need to ensure that is true for every child, no matter the citizenship status of their parents. We are potentially facing a situation where our society will upheave the lives of thousands of citizen children because their parents could lose their DACA protections. We don’t have to do that, and advocates and policy makers should do everything possible to prevent this trauma.”

Swati Adarkar, President & CEO; Children’s Institute:

“The average age of arrival for DACA recipients in Oregon is six. With all that we know about the negative impacts of early stress and trauma on young children, it’s imperative that DACA protections stay in place. Rescinding these protections threatens the physical and mental health, safety, and future of Dreamers in Oregon and across the country.”

D. Paul Robinson, M.D., F.A.A.P., President; Florida Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics: 

“The Florida Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics is composed of 2600 members. Our organization strongly opposes the Trump Administration’s ending of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. As an adolescent medicine physician who frequently works with children with mental health issues I am certain the fear and stress caused by the ending of this program will harm the mental health of thousands of DACA children in the state of Florida and in the country at large. Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome can be caused by simply expecting or hearing about a traumatic event, and the Adverse Childhood Experiences studies done at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) would predict serious long term harm to the mental and physical health of these children.”

Maria Whelan, President and CEO; Illinois Action for Children:

“Ending—or even threatening to end—Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals (DACA) adds uncertainty to the lives of 85,000 people in Illinois living in DACA households, including 15,200 U.S.-born children. This uncertainty places children’s growth, health, and educational development at risk—with harmful impacts that will last into adulthood.”

Minal Giri, M.D., Chair, Refugee Immigrant Child Health Initiative (RICHI); Illinois Chapter, American Academy of Pediatrics:

“As pediatricians practicing in Illinois, which an estimated 72,600 U.S.-born children of DACA recipients call home, we are acutely aware of the long-term effects of trauma resulting from the separation of families and loss of caregivers. DACA rescission will undeniably tear parents away from their children – even newborns – resulting in devastating physical and emotional impacts for these families that will put them at risk for poverty and malnutrition. As citizens themselves, these children deserve the same security and care that we aim to provide all children in the U.S.”

Michelle Hughes, Executive Director; NC Child:

“NC Child strongly supports upholding protections for DACA recipients and their children. We believe that the implementation of deferred action programs like DACA can help promote the healthy development of the 11,600 children of DACA recipients in North Carolina.”

Warren Seigel, Chair; New York State American Academy of Pediatrics:

“New York State American Academy of Pediatrics is committed to supporting and enhancing the health, safety, and well-being of all infants, children, adolescents, and young adults in New York State, no matter where they or their parents were born. The proposed rule eliminating DACA status would put 6,900 New York US citizen children, whose parents are currently DACA recipients in severe jeopardy. Breaking up New York State families based on faulty immigration policy is antithetical to good pediatric care.”

Mayra E Alvarez, MHA, President; The Children’s Partnership:

“Roughly a quarter of all DACA recipients reside in California, as do 72,600 children whose parents have DACA. As advocates for children, The Children’s Partnership knows policy extends far beyond its intended recipients. Efforts to eliminate DACA, together with the Administration’s other policies and rhetoric, is causing fear and panic in communities – harming children’s healthy development. Programs like DACA will help ensure the wellbeing of thousands of children and ensure a stronger future for the entire state and nation.”