Democratic Senators Move to Protect Dreamer Data

January 23, 2019 by TWN Staff
The Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights holds an immigrant youth rally and news conference in support of preserving DACA while the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals hears arguments in a case challenging the cancellation of the program on Tuesday, May 15, 2018 in Pasadena, Calif. (Maria Alejandra Cardona/Los Angeles Times/TNS)

On Tuesday, U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) led a group of Senate Democrats in reintroducing the Protect DREAMer Confidentiality Act of 2019, a bill to safeguard the private information—such as addresses and telephone numbers—of the young immigrants known as Dreamers to ensure they are not targeted by the Trump Administration for deportation.

President Donald Trump ended the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program in September 2017, impacting nearly 1 million Dreamers across the nation, including more than 7,000 in New Mexico. There is no guarantee from the Trump Administration that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will not use the data of DACA applicants for deportation purposes. While DHS has stated on its FAQ page that information in DACA requests will not be “proactively provided” for immigration enforcement proceedings, it also stated that this policy “may be modified, superseded, or rescinded at any time without notice.”

Specifically, the legislation would protect the confidentiality of information submitted in requests for the DACA Program 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 exceptions.

“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 came forward based on the promise that our government would not deport them and provided personal information about themselves and their families. However, Dreamers across the country continue to face a harsh uncertainty about their future and are worried that the information they shared will be used against them. To do this would be an extraordinary and unprecedented breach of trust by our government,” said Heinrich. “That is why I introduced the Protect DREAMer Confidentiality Act to safeguard Dreamers’ private information—such as addresses and telephone numbers. We must protect the personal information DACA applicants entrusted with the government and ensure that they are not unfairly targeted by President Trump for deportation.”

The bill is cosponsored by U.S. Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Tom Udall (D-N.M.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Tom Carper (D-Del.), Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), and Edward Markey (D-Mass.).

A copy of the bill is available here.

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