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Maine Advocates Call For Protections For DACA Recipients

Business and community advocates in Maine are calling for Congress to protect young immigrants whose citizenship status could be threatened by the outcome of a U.S. Supreme Court case.

The court heard oral arguments Tuesday in a legal challenge of President Donald Trump’s decision to end DACA, or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival, the Obama-era program that allows about 700,000 people who entered the U.S. illegally as children to stay in the country.

Maine has more than 140 DACA recipients, according to federal data.

In a teleconference, former Bangor Mayor Joe Baldacci told reporters that those immigrants play an important economic and cultural role in many Maine communities.

“This issue affects society across many levels: business, economics, political, social, education, health care. It affects all of us. And not just the DACA recipients and their children, but all of us as a state and as a nation,” he said.

Several Maine business and government leaders told reporters that DACA recipients play an important role in Maine’s economy, particularly as the state’s workforce ages. David Barber of the the Maine Business Immigration Coalition says lawmakers must come together to guarantee DACA recipients permanent legal status.

“They’re full members of the communities in every sense. And the only thing they lack is permanent immigration status that will assure their futures here,” he says.