Farmersville issues letter of support for a legislative solution to DACA program’s rescission
By Paul Myers @PaulM_SGN
FARMERSVILLE – Last week the Tulare County Board of Supervisors issued a letter to their federal delegation in support of a legislative solution to the DACA program rescinded in September. The Lindsay Unified School District (LUSD) issued a similar letter earlier in the spring, and now Farmersville City Council has made their opinion known as well.
Standing for the Deferred Action of Childhood Arrivals, the DACA program caters to a population of roughly 800,000 immigrants. Congress has until March to figure out what they want to do with them, and local jurisdictions who have large immigrant populations are voicing their opinion over what should be done.
On Monday, Nov. 13 the Farmersville City Council voted 4-0 with mayor pro tem Matt Sisk absent to send a letter to Congressmen David Valadeo, Devin Nunes, Kevin McCarthy and Jim Costa.
“We…support a solution that would create a path to citizenship for unauthorized individuals who arrived in the United States as Minors,” stated the letter. “[Tulare County’s] as well as the City of Farmersville’s economy is dependent upon reliable labor, which in the agricultural community is typically provided by immigrants. Absent a path to citizenship, a guest worker program, or some sort of immigration fix, there is a tremendous amount of uncertainty for the future of agriculture in our County.”
Aside from economic concerns the Council recognized the plight of the average DACA recipient in their letter.
“To many of them, the United States has been the only home they know. These children of immigrants, who contribute to society in a positive manner by working, going to school and starting a career,” the letter went on.
“All of us understand the importance of DACA to our community. Everything seems to be political, but this is humanitarian. The thought of someone that has grown up here being sent back to a country they may not even remember is disheartening,” said mayor Paul Boyers
“This is very important to some of our residents and I want to thank you Paul for bringing this to us,” councilman Greg Gomez added.
The Board of Supervisors’ letter held largely the same tone with some additional comments from board members and members of the public as well.
“This is an item this Board of Supervisors has had on its federal lobbying platform for many years,” Board chairman Pete Vander Poel said. “This is not a new item, it is something we have done and this is just another letter that brings it forward to 2017 and reprioritizes it for this board.”
Boardmember Mike Ennis added that he wants to see a path forward that makes immigrants from the DACA program full fledged American citizens. School board president from the Earlimart School District, Abigail Solace, spoke during the public comment portion of the item. She said that if the DACA program was not extended or if something was not put in its place then the consequences could be entire families leaving the County.
“You know this isn’t a partisan issue, this is strictly a humanitarian issue…not one student would leave alone. Him or her would leave their entire family which would mean they would have to vacate their home, parents would have to vacate their place of employment and they would no longer be able to attend our schools. This would affect us dramatically if it happened throughout Tulare County,” Solace said.