The New Jersey Counseling Association welcomes DACA recipients “with open arms and hearts” and urges DHS to rescind its phase out of the DACA program and urges Congress and the President to enact the DREAM Act before March 5, 2018    
The New Jersey Counseling Association (NJCA) makes this statement in support of the children and young adults affected by the current curtailment of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (“DACA”) program, which went into effect on September 5, 2017.   In doing so, we are promoting the mission of “advancing the counseling profession, and using the profession of counseling to promote respect for human dignity and diversity” established by our parent organization, the American Counseling Association (ACA).  As professional counselors, we are ethically obligated under the ACA Code of Ethics “to advocate at individual, group, institutional, and societal levels to address potential barriers and obstacles that inhibit potential access and/or growth and development of clients.”

The curtailment and eventual end of the DACA program and the anxiety and uncertainty that the current 6-month moratorium creates represent an unequivocal and extreme barrier to the well-being and mental health of current DACA recipients and their families. It is an obstacle that inhibits the potential access to needed mental health services and the growth and development of our DACA clients and their family members.

According to the Department of Homeland Security website, the people covered under DACA include those children that “had come to the U.S. before their 16th birthday, were under age 31, had continuously resided in the United States since June 15th, and were in school, graduated or had obtained a certificate of completion from high school, obtained a … GED certificate, or were an honorably discharged veteran of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States.  Significantly, individuals were ineligible if they had been convicted of a felony or significant misdemeanor…  .”  We are unaware of any rational justification for the eventual expulsion of a class of individuals that have peacefully lived among us as our fellow students and co-workers and who continue to make important contributions to the glorious, diverse fabric of American life.  NJCA states as an organization “Dreamers, we welcome you with open arms and hearts.”

On behalf of our DACA clients and their families and friends that are clients, NJCA advocates for the following:

1.  That the office of U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services, Department of Homeland Security, withdraw its phase out of DACA announced on September 5, 2017, and continue to process all pending or new or renewal applications received during the six-month period ending March 5, 2018.
2. That Congress Pass and President Trump signs the DREAM ACT into law prior to March 5, 2018, thereby ending the uncertainty and anguish that the status quo has created for DACA recipients and their families and friends and thereby making an important and needed contribution to America and its economy.
3. That professional counselors provide clinical mental health counseling to DACA recipients and all other immigrants regardless of their status or ability to pay.  Our parent organization, the ACA, states that “counselors are encouraged to contribute to society by devoting a portion of their professional activities for little or no financial return (pro bono publico).”

Statement reviewed and approved by the NJCA Executive Committee and Board of Directors for public release on October 10, 2017.

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New Jersey Counseling Association
P.O. Box 74
Cranford, New Jersey 07016
Telephone: (609) 273-9917
njcounseling2@yahoo.com
Fax: (908) 272-2144

 

The New Jersey Counseling Association is an NBCC-Approved Continuing Education Provider (ACEP) and may offer NBCC-approved clock hours for events that meet NBCC requirements. The ACEP solely is responsible for all aspects of the program.