October 12, 2017

(Los Angeles, CA) The Trump administration this week released a list of punitive anti-immigrant guidelines that it says must be enacted as part of any legislation that addresses the plight of undocumented young immigrants who were brought to the United States as children.

The proposal comes nearly a month after the administration rescinded Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, (DACA), a 2012 Obama-era initiative that allowed many of those young immigrants to work legally for a renewable two-year period, during which they are shielded from deportation.

The administration’s proposal includes a number of changes that would only harm Latino families and the immigrant community. These demands include passing a merit-based immigration system that intentionally prevents many individuals from reuniting with close family members and makes it more difficult for Latino immigrants to come to this country. In addition, the White House’s agenda includes other unacceptable priorities that would roll back protections for unaccompanied children, expand the use of expedited removal proceedings, and impose harsh new rules for individuals seeking asylum in the United States.

Thomas A. Saenz, president and general counsel of MALDEF (Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund), released the following statement today in response to Trump’s proposal:

"These self-evidently ideological demands cannot form the basis of any realistic negotiations around immigration policy. Among the counter-productive propositions that the American people overwhelmingly reject are: turning our back on children fleeing dire conditions created in part by bad U.S. policy, removing family reunification as the first principle of our immigration policy, curtailing due process for immigrant families, and undermining public safety by engaging in broad and undifferentiated immigration enforcement activity in our urban and rural communities.

Congressional leaders must now decide whether to adopt a clean DREAM Act as the public demands, or to continue to follow in lockstep a president who lost the popular vote by millions and whose approval ratings have consistently hovered between abysmal and pathetic. Our nation cries out for courageous legislative leadership that will protect, with alacrity and humanity, our immigrant youth."

Founded in 1968, MALDEF is the nation's leading Latino legal civil rights organization. Often described as the "Latino Legal Voice for Civil Rights in America" MALDEF promotes social change through advocacy, communications, community education, and litigation in the areas of education, employment, immigrant rights, and political access. For more information on MALDEF, please visit:

Copyright 2009 MALDEF — Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund