Immigrants who came to the United States before they were 16, known as “Dreamers” are integral contributors to the Palm Springs economy and culture; they live in the city, attend local schools and colleges, fill important roles in the city’s workforce and provide invaluable contributions and innovations in the community – and the Palm Springs City Council wants everyone to know that.
The five-member City Council is unwavering in its support of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program the Obama Administration announced in 2012.
To punctuate their collective belief, the Palm Springs City Council this month — with neither fanfare nor drama — unanimously approved a resolution in support of Dreamers and calls on federal representatives to reach a legislative agreement on DACA. There is no gray area where this City Council stands.
“A comprehensive and functioning immigration system is essential to ensuring our city’s and country’s future economic prosperity, our overall public safety, and a diverse and meaningful community,” according to the resolution.
Palm Springs City Councilmember Christy Holstege initiated the resolution – and wrote it – following the lead of the Riverside County Board of Supervisors. The board in February approved a bipartisan resolution to support DACA. The county’s resolution, initiated by Fourth District Supervisor V. Manuel “Manny” Perez, was also unanimously approved – but only after an hour of emotional public testimony.
Riverside County’s resolution urges federal legislators to provide a long-term solution that would allow participants of the Obama-era program – more than 13,000 of whom live in Riverside County – to remain in the country with a pathway to citizenship.
“For us, I think it’s more than symbolic … the county’s resolution really didn’t go far enough,” Holstege told Uken Report. “I wanted to take it further. For us, it was important to make sure that all of our undocumented residents and our DACA students feel safe. It’s more than a resolution to make it a symbolic act. It’s actually a message to our community and to our residents that they will have sanctuary.”
A passionate Holstege added that, “They are in our schools, living with us. They are a part of our community and more than that, they are a meaningful part of our community, adding diversity to our community.”
Holstege she and her colleagues thought long and hard about to protect undocumented immigrants and our DACA recipients in Palm Springs. She studied and reviewed numerous resolutions other cities were passing.
“I felt like we should be on the forefront of that, especially now that our state is under attack from Jeff Sessions and the DOJ for being a sanctuary state,” Holstege said. “I wanted to make sure our city is on the right side of history and making sure we are doing everything we can to protect our undocumented residents.”
Nearly 790,000 young immigrants have been granted work authorization and temporary relief from deportation as part of the DACA program. DACA gives unauthorized immigrants who came to the United States before age 16 a chance to stay in this country to study or work, provided they meet certain conditions such as being enrolled in high school or having a high school degree or GED equivalent, and not have a serious criminal conviction.
Those approved for the program are given a work permit and protection from deportation for two years. These benefits can be renewed.
On Sept. 4, 2017, the Trump administration announced that it would not renew DACA and allow the current group of DACA beneficiaries’ work authorizations to expire.
The Palm Springs City Council’s resolution boldly addresses the financial contributions Dreams have contributed to the economy. It notes that Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy has reported that undocumented immigrants in California paid $2.2 billion in state and local taxes in 2010, including $1.8 billion in sales taxes and $302 million in property taxes.
The Palm Springs City Council approved the resolution knowing that DACA is popular with the public and enjoys the support of employers, educators, community leaders, and elected official from both major political parties. Seventy-eight percent of American voters supports giving Dreamers the chance to stay permanently in America, according to an April 2017 Morning Consult and Politico poll.
- Christy Holstege: Christy Holstege