Heinrich Leads Senate Democrats In Introducing Bill To Safeguard DREAMer Data

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) led a group of Senate Democrats in introducing S. 229, the Protect DREAMer Confidentiality Act of 2017, a bill to safeguard the private information—such as addresses and telephone numbers—of the young immigrants known as DREAMers to ensure that they are not targeted by the Trump Administration for deportation.

The introduction of this bill comes as President Donald Trump has begun a series of executive actions on immigration that may affect the nearly 1 million DREAMers across the nation, including more than 7,000 in New Mexico, and their families. The bill is cosponsored by U.S. Senators Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.), Tom Udall (D-N.M.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), and Jack Reed (D-R.I.).

“Nearly a million DREAMers across the country have come out of the shadows because of the promise that DACA represented, including more than 7,000 from New Mexico. These are some of our brightest students and veterans who volunteered their personal information to apply for the DACA Program. However, the Trump Administration now threatens to use this information against them to break families apart, deport these students or their families, and enact anti-immigrant policies that are contrary to American values,” said Heinrich. “We hear again and again of the remarkable stories of DREAMers overcoming very difficult challenges in the genuine pursuit of a better life. Not only do DREAMers want to earn an education and work, they want to give back to their communities and their country. In fact, I would suggest that DREAMers don't know how to be anything but American. Over the years I’ve had the privilege of meeting several DREAMers in New Mexico and sharing their inspiring stories. This bill will protect the personal information they entrusted with the government and ensure that they are not targeted by our new President in his pursuit to divide the country. The President should work with us to pass comprehensive, bipartisan immigration reform that keeps families united not build walls that divide us.”

“I have had the honor of meeting with many inspiring DREAMers in Nevada and across the country,” said Cortez Masto. “These hardworking young men and women are American in all but paper and want nothing more than to be able to work and continue contributing to their communities, and we must ensure they have the chance to do this. I am committed to doing everything in my power to protect them and their families, and this bill is the first of many steps that will help me keep that promise and give DREAMers the peace of mind they long for and deserve.”

“Our nation’s DREAMers represent the best of America – hard-working young people who want nothing more than to contribute to this country,” said Udall. "When these immigrants came out of the shadows under the DACA program so that they could be free of the fear of deportation, they did so with the promise that their personal information would not be used against them. Since his election, President Trump has promised he would ‘work something out’ that would be ‘fair’ to these young folks, many of whom have barely known any other home outside of America. Reversing course and targeting these young people who came forward in good faith, pose no threat to our nation, and who invigorate our communities, our schools, and our economy, would be a tragedy and an outrage. Many of these young people are now living in fear — the Senate must act to protect DREAMers from the Trump Administration’s harmful and dangerous anti-immigrant agenda.”

“At its core, America exists because people seeking freedom worked hard to build a better life. DREAMers today deserve that same chance,” said Van Hollen. “They came out of the shadows because of their desire to get an education and contribute to our country, and in turn our government promised to protect them. It would go against the nation’s founding ideals to break that promise.”

“The 665,000 young people who were born outside of this country, moved here as children, and have applied for and received DACA are, by any reasonable measure, Americans. DACA has provided them with an opportunity to fully participate in the nation they love without fear of deportation,” said Booker. “President Trump’s hostility towards these individuals—some of whom are military service members and students— is unacceptable, and this bill will prevent the administration from using DACA records to target and deport these hardworking young people."

“Children who were brought here, grew up in this country, attended American schools, speak our language, share our values, work hard and play by the rules deserve an opportunity to stay in the United States,” said Wyden. “That’s what this program is about. This bill will ensure that the information 11,000 Oregonians provided to the DACA program remains confidential and is not used to target people for removal from their homes and families.”

Specifically, S. 229 would protect the confidentiality of information submitted in requests for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program (DACA) from disclosure to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement or U.S. Customs and Border Protection for any purpose other than implementing the DACA Program, unless there are national security concerns or other limited exception.

A copy of the bill is available HERE.