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September 5, 2017 News

Message from the President: DACA

The cruel and irrational elimination of DACA threatens the goal of inclusion and opportunity for all, and should compel all of us in philanthropy to increase support for our immigrant communities.

Since its establishment in 2012, DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) has provided nearly 800,000 young people with greater economic mobility and social inclusion that is helping to build stronger, more sustainable communities. DACA has gained the support of people from both sides of the political spectrum who rightly see the program’s continuation as both a moral and an economic imperative.

California has the most “DACAmented” youth of all states in the nation. There are 222,795 Californians who have received DACA since the program’s inception. These young people have made incredible contributions. They are serving our communities as doctors, teachers, lawyers, nonprofit leaders and small business owners. They have invested in their education and in our economy, and have served in our military as well.

Ending DACA means that thousands of hard working and contributing members of our society will be at risk of deportation and separation from their families and our communities. It means that they no longer have authorization to work. This will heighten anxiety and fear, and could devastate families financially. Removing hundreds of thousands of people from our workforce will also hurt our economy. One analysis estimates that ending DACA could result in the loss of $11.6 billion in California’s GDP over the next decade.

DACA has broad support from the American people because it appeals to our sense of fairness – but also because it works as an effective strategy for immigrant integration. Foundations like ours have invested significant funds over the past several years in support of advocacy, education, outreach and assistance around DACA and sought to support efforts that ensure immigrants have full access to civic and economic opportunities. At the Weingart Foundation, we believe that immigrant communities are a key part of what makes Southern California strong. We all benefit when everyone can participate, prosper and reach their full potential.

In the coming months, the Foundation will target funding for know your rights education and outreach. We will look for ways to support the employment of DACA recipients, as well as their involvement in post secondary education. The LA Justice Fund will soon announce grants for legal services for those in removal proceedings, with a prioritization for youth who arrived as children. The Foundation is also in the process of exploring opportunities to significantly support youth organizing, including organizing around immigrant rights. Recent research has shown that youth organizing leads to strong youth development outcomes as well as important systems and policy change victories.

And we will continue our practice of responsive grantmaking and unrestricted operating support grants. We do this to fortify our nonprofit partners as they respond to critical community needs and immediate threats to basic rights. The Trump administration’s decision also reminds us that ultimately we need meaningful, comprehensive immigration reform that will allow DACA youth as well as other undocumented community members to fully integrate into this country and get on a path to earned citizenship. Providing immigrant rights organizations with the support they need to engage in effective advocacy is more important than ever before.

We reject and resist attacks on the most vulnerable people in our society. The Weingart Foundation stands with communities and with those who continue to unite against injustice. Your fight is our fight.

Fred Ali
President & CEO