When the Trump administration announced an end to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, it put at risk the future of 800,000 young people known as Dreamers who came to the U.S. as children and know this country as their only home.

As a DACA recipient myself, I know how life-changing the program can be: DACA gave me the chance to open a bank account, buy a car, and pursue my dreams while investing in my community here in North Carolina. Since the Trump administration’s announcement in September, nearly 11,000 Dreamers have lost their DACA status, placing them in danger of deportation and making it harder for them to work and support their families.

Congress must take action immediately to protect these young people by passing the Dream Act, a bipartisan bill that provides a path to citizenship for more than 2 million immigrant youth and young adults who came to the U.S. as kids, including DACA recipients. To be eligible, individuals must graduate from high school or pass the GED and either attend college or enlist in the military.

It’s important that the Dream Act not be amended to include unnecessary policies that target members of our immigrant communities, such as funding a border wall, more detention centers, or enforcement that could leads to raids and deportations.

Some lawmakers have proposed dangerous alternatives to the Dream Act that won’t actually protect DACA recipients, such as the SUCCEED Act, which is sponsored by U.S. Senator Thom Tillis from North Carolina. The SUCCEED Act excludes many DACA recipients from legal protections, limits their due process rights, and sets up these young people for failure by punishing them for life events that are often outside of their control.

The Dream Act is the most effective path to citizenship for Dreamers and it still contains the same stringent security measures found in the DACA program, as well as high standards for participation. If Congress fails to pass the Dream Act by the end of the year, 1,400 more people will lose their status per day. There is no time to lose.

Take action today and tell Congress to pass a Clean Dream Act now.

Photo: Yazmin Garcia Rico speaks at a DACA rally in North Carolina. Credit: El Pueblo @elpuebloinc