The council voted unanimously, 15-0, after holding a news conference with several Baltimoreans who are currently protected from deportation by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA, which President Barack Obama’s administration created with a memo in 2012.
“The council is standing unanimously behind this resolution calling on Congress to pass the Dream Act,” said City Councilman Zeke Cohen. “This legislation has bipartisan support. Now is the time to act.”
President Donald J. Trump’s administration moved last week to rescind protections for immigrants brought to the country illegally as children. The announcement drew emotional responses from dreamers and some public officials in heavily Democratic Maryland. The state has the ninth-largest share of foreign-born residents in the nation, according to Census data.
More than 9,000 Marylanders qualified for the DACA program, which Trump and conservative Republicans have criticized as a constitutional overreach.
DACA granted a reprieve from deportation and the possibility of work permits to people under 16 who entered the country prior to 2007 as long as they were in school, had graduated or had been honorably discharged from the military, and had a mostly clean criminal record.
Jonathan Jayes-Green, who spoke at the City Council news conference, said he is in the country under the DACA program. Jayes-Green said he recently became a homeowner in Baltimore.
“If they believe I’m going to pack up my bags and go to another country, they’re sorely mistaken,” he said. “Baltimore is my home, and we are here to stay.”
Administration officials said last week they were ending the program but would give Congress six months to come up with a fix — leaving the fate of the dreamers to Republican leaders on Capitol Hill. During that time, the administration will continue to renew work permits sought by dreamers already covered under DACA.
But the Department of Homeland Security said it would no longer approve applications for those seeking to enroll for the first time.