Joint Statement of Health Center Community in Response to DACA Ruling

July 19, 2021

WASHINGTON — California Primary Care Association (CPCA), the National Association of Community Health Centers (NACHC), and the Association of Asian Pacific Community Health Organizations (AAPCHO) raised concerns about the impact of a federal ruling that the  Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program is unlawful.  The  DACA program has protected undocumented young adults known as “dreamers”  from deportation.  The judge’s decision does not affect current DACA recipients but does throw into jeopardy the fate of hundreds of thousands of young immigrants who hope to build a future in the U.S.

The NACHC issued the following statement: 

“Community Health Centers provide first-rate medical care to the poorest, most vulnerable members of society across America regardless of their ability to pay,” said Tom Van Coverden, president and CEO of NACHC.  “For example, we care for migrant farmworkers and their families who, at great risk to themselves, kept America’s food supply running throughout the COVID-19 pandemic so that Americans did not suffer what could have been catastrophic food shortages.  The ruling by the federal judge in Texas halting the DACA program is concerning because it could cause people in need of health care services to avoid needed treatment for fear of being deported. We are studying the impact of this ruling on the ability of Community Health Centers to care for our patients and hope that Congress and the Administration will provide clarity and a bipartisan solution to this unfortunate, ambiguous situation.  Our doctors, nurses and health care professionals simply want to provide the best medical care possible for their patients.”

Jeffrey B. Caballero, Executive Director of AAPCHO: 

“DACA has been an integral part in growing our economy, creating jobs, and most importantly, keeping millions of families united. DACA recipients are our neighbors and family members who contribute to their communities every day. Many are essential workers who have been on the front lines of the Covid-19 response. AAPCHO is deeply concerned by the Federal court’s ruling and the uncertainty it will cause in our communities,” said Jeffrey B. Caballero, executive director of AAPCHO. “To be clear, the court’s ruling does not affect current DACA recipients, but it does underscore the urgency for Congress to provide a permanent solution for DACA recipients. While the Biden administration has indicated it will appeal this decision, AAPCHO calls on Congress to pass a pathway to citizenship, especially for immigrant youth. We stand committed to ensuring that all members of our community have stability and certainty in knowing their place in our country is not in jeopardy and they can continue to live their lives without fear.”

Andie Martinez Patterson, Senior Vice President of Strategy, Integration & System Impact of CPCA:

“We condemn the ruling to block new applicants into the DACA and to deem the program illegal,” said Andie Martinez Patterson, senior vice president of strategy, integration & system impact with CPCA. “Health centers are proud to stand with DACA recipients and reiterate our commitment to valuing and protecting the rights of Dreamers. The DACA program has allowed individuals brought to our country as young children, known as “Dreamers,” to avoid deportation and be able to remain and work in the U.S. We cannot continue to toy with the lives of people who have been outstanding contributors to their communities. Dreamers have played an instrumental role in addressing worker shortages in healthcare and should also be recognized for being heroes in their communities in the fight against COVID-19. We call on Congress to protect our dreamers by enacting legislation that will forever protect the DACA program.”

Jana Eubank, executive director of the Texas Association of Community Health Centers:

“DACA recipients are an integral part of Texas’ communities creating and filling jobs while contributing to the state’s economy as consumers and taxpayers,” said Jana Eubank, executive director of the Texas Association of Community Health Centers. “Dreamers fill needs in our community healthcare sector which is in a dire workforce shortage in many rural and underserved areas of state. The Texas Association of Community Health Care Centers will continue to advocate for our friends, neighbors, and co-workers who rely on this program for a better future and give so much back to Texas communities.”

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