In September 2018, the Trump Administration made known they would like to put an end to the DACA program. DACA (Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals) was an executive action under the Obama Administration that allowed undocumented immigrants who came to the US under the age of 16 to apply for protection from deportation. After background checks, they were issued renewable 2-year permits to work and study in the US; revocable if recipients commit crimes or fail to prove they are working/studying in the US. Earlier this month, Trump claimed that nearly 800,000 of these “dreamers” have taken advantage of DACA and if Congress does not take action, he will end the program in 6 months. According to the Department of Homeland Security, 690,000 immigrants are enrolled in DACA and could face deportation if and when their work permits expire. Almost as high as Trump’s claims, a cool 787,580 people had been granted DACA status between August 2012 to March 2017, but 39,514 of those “nearly 800,000” had become legal permanent residents and 1,056 became US citizens. Only 2,139 individuals have had their DACA status revoked, which has led many to still believe in the program.
There is a chance that Trump could be found guilty of violating the Constitution’s equal protection clause by his abrupt attempt to rescind the program, based on its unequal yet substantial impact on Latinos. In the meantime, the Federal Courts have ruled that the administration must resume receiving DACA renewal applications, but only from those who have previously received DACA protections; no new ones. All existing permits are to be honored of their individual 2 year expiration dates, despite the March 5 end date recently established by the Trump Administration.
Like many of Trump’s anti-immigration arguments, opposers of DACA believe that such a program only encourages illegal immigration. Migrants who come to the US seeking better economic opportunities, a stronger education, etc., rather than wealthy individuals coming to work in the US or even fleeing a threatening regime are labeled as burdens of society and are met at the border with hostility. Which makes for a very transactional view on immigration; those who appear to contribute greatly to society (economically, mostly) are more valued and welcomed.
With this mindset, the American Dream, is easily swept under the rug and our Dreamers are valued based on their potential future contributions. Many of whom came to the US so young they do not have memories of a different home, and just like those born here, they dream too.
- The ACLU: a non-profit with a longstanding commitment to preserving and protecting the individual rights and liberties the Constitution and US laws guarantee all its citizens. You can also donate monthly to counter Trump’s attacks on people’s rights. Recently, the ACLU has filed a lawsuit challenging the separation of families at the border.
- The National Immigration Law Center: an organization that exclusively dedicates itself to defending and furthering the rights of low income immigrants and strives to educate decision makers on the impacts and effects of their policies on this overlooked part of the population.
- FWD.us: an organization that aims to promote the tech community to support policies that keep the American Dream alive. They specifically and currently focus on immigration reform.
This Brief was authored by Kathryn Baron. For inquiries, suggestions or comments email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo by rob walsh