President Trump’s Decision to End DACA Puts the Health and Safety of 17,000 Young Coloradans at Risk
DENVER—The White House recently announced an end to the DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) program. Since 2012, DACA has provided 800,000 children and young adults living in the US with protections against deportation and eligibility for work and education. In response to this decision, Center for Health Progress released the following statement:
The callous and irresponsible decision by President Trump to end DACA has not only broken the trust that 17,000 high-achieving young Coloradans placed in our country, but also endangered their lives and health. DACA created opportunities for these individuals to pursue higher education, work hard, and contribute even more to our society and our economy. It also freed them from the mental and emotional burden of living in the shadows, and in constant fear of deportation. As a result, their mental health improved substantially:
- Children whose mothers were eligible for DACA were less than half as likely to have an anxiety disorder provoked by external stress than those whose mothers were not eligible
- Among Hispanic adults, people who became eligible for DACA had significantly reduced incidence of psychological distress
- Asian Pacific Islander young adults enrolled in DACA indicated an improved sense of well-being, including reduced stress and fear of deportation, and less reluctance to seek health care
Ninety-one percent of all DACA-enrolled individuals are gainfully employed, and many are also pursuing higher education opportunities. Without DACA, these young people are at significant risk of losing their work permits and jobs, their employer-provided health insurance, their college enrollment, and their overall safety and well-being. Furthermore, over 40% of accredited medical schools currently accept students with DACA status, but may not be able to going forward; this could have long-lasting effects on our health care workforce.
The end of DACA will have serious public health and safety implications. Joe Sammen, Executive Director of Center for Health Progress said, “We have seen how this decision and other anti-immigrant policies have eroded trust in the institutions that are core to our health and safety. Ending DACA has sent a message to all immigrants that they cannot safely access institutions that support their health and that’s unacceptable and un-American. Colorado cannot reach its full potential if all of its people cannot reach their full potential.”
We at Center for Health Progress intend to hold accountable all those who are responsible for the decision to end DACA, as well as those who have the power to re-instate its protections through legislation. We are inspired by the strength and resiliency of the immigrant communities who exemplify the indomitable spirit and perseverance that makes our communities great, despite the unjust barriers imposed on them. They continue to work tirelessly in pursuit of their dreams. In step with them, we’ll work tirelessly to ensure all Coloradans, regardless of documentation status, have the opportunity to live a healthy life.