If the 600,000 Mexican-born recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program – or DACA – are deported by the Trump administration, “America’s loss will be Mexico’s gain,” Mexican Secretary of Foreign Affairs Dr. Luis Videgaray Caso said Monday at a press conference in Sacramento.
Speaking at the Mexican Consulate in North Natomas, Videgaray called the recipients, also known as “Dreamers,” “a blessing.” He said if they are deported, the Mexican government is ready to help them continue their college educations, find jobs that fit their skills and provide them with medical insurance.
“We will receive them with open arms,” Videgaray said, adding that both the Mexican Ministry of Education and the Department of Labor have changed regulations to accommodate the Dreamers if they are deported.
“Hopefully that doesn’t happen,” said Videgaray, whose office has been vigorously lobbying both houses of Congress to pass legislation on the issue.
“We fully acknowledge that America’s immigration policies must be defined by America,” he said, “but we strongly hope U.S. Congress will act promptly. These young people want to stay in America – they were raised here.”
The DACA program was established by President Barack Obama in 2012. It allowed minors brought to the U.S. by their parents to qualify for renewable work permits, driver’s licenses, college educations and scholarships if they successfully met certain requirements, including having no criminal record. The Trump administration recently announced it would end the program, and has given Congress six months to pass legislation to address the Dreamers and their legal status.
Videgaray spent part of Monday at the Capitol meeting with Gov. Jerry Brown and state legislators on a variety of hot-button issues including climate change, NAFTA, renewable energy and immigration.
The Mexican government already is providing legal assistance to undocumented Mexican immigrants seeking to adjust their legal status, said Videgaray, who met with about 20 DACA recipients privately. Videgaray, who holds a doctorate in economics from MIT, said the government is working wiith all 32 Mexican states to ensure any dreamers who are sent back can find jobs in their areas of study.
“If it’s one or 100,000 or 600,000, this will be a big gift to Mexico,” he said. “They are college-educated, law-abiding, talented young people full of energy and creativity.”
Videgaray on Monday also spoke of the recent 8.1-magnitude earthquake in Mexico that claimed 95 lives and destroyed thousands of homes and buildings.