U.S. Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman, the vice ranking member of the House Committee on Homeland Security, sent a letter to Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly today requesting clarification on Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policies.
Watson Coleman, a Democrat serving New Jersey’s 12th District, which includes Princeton, said senior officials have made contradictory statements on current administration policy.
“You’ve indicated that ‘DACA status is a commitment … by the government’, which has since given the reassurance to these young men and women of our commitment to them and their education,” Watson Coleman wrote to Kelly. “Sadly, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer and Attorney General Jeff Sessions each refused to guarantee the public that DACA recipients were protected under current administration policy.”
Watson Coleman said the DACA program has been essential to ensuring that children brought to the United States through no fault of their own are able to study and work just like other Americans.
“Reports on the arrest of 23-year old DACA recipient Juan Manuel Montes of California, the subsequent confusion surrounding the justification of these actions, and this administration’s conflicting and ambiguous stance on this program justifiably amplifies the fears of DREAMers,” she wrote. “Faced with the prospect of being banished to a place of which they have no memory, these young men and women, who consider the United States their only home, are looking for reassurance regarding the administration’s position.”
Watson Coleman urged Kelly to provide guidance to Congress on current administration policy that would underscore the principle that DACA recipients shouldn’t fear removal.
“As the vice ranking member of the Committee on Homeland Security, the complex nature of the enforcement of these policies and multiple agencies involved in enforcing immigration laws – it is crucial that the administration speak with one voice on this matter, so the public can fully understand its position and this policy,” Watson Coleman wrote.