By now, unless you’re living entirely off the grid and are disconnected from all forms of media, you may have seen images, articles, or even memes regarding the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
Perhaps some of your Facebook friends changed their profile picture to include the frame “I Support DACA.” Or, on the other hand, you may have heard opinions stated by people who adamantly wish for the DACA program to end. These individuals are in support of President Trump’s recent order to end the Obama-era program that shields young, undocumented immigrants from deportation. Either way, as with all current affairs, it’s best to remain informed of the facts and details.
So What Are Those Details?
Let’s start with the policy itself. The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy was founded by President Obama’s administration during the summer of 2012. The policy allows for illegal immigrants who entered the United States as minors to receive a renewable two-year period of “deferred action” from deportation. These individuals are also eligible for work permits.
There were approximately 800,000 such individuals enrolled in the program as of the start of 2017. Obama attempted to expand the program to cover additional immigrants, but his administration was not successful in this expansion. It remained “in the works,” so to speak, until June of 2017 when The U.S. Department of Homeland Security rescinded the expansion.
What are The Most Recent Developments?
Then, on September 5th, 2017, President Trump officially and formally rescinded the entire DACA program. However, implementation of his order has been delayed six months to give Congress an opportunity to find a long term solution for the individuals who were previously eligible for DACA.
Research conducted by various institutions shows that the DACA program increased the wages and labor force participation of eligible immigrants while also reducing the number of undocumented immigrants living in poverty. Also, the program was shown to increase the mental health of DACA recipients and their families.
In a statement given by President Trump, he stated concern for “the millions of Americans victimized by this unfair system.” Attorney General Jeff Sessions backed this statement by adding that the policy had “denied jobs to hundreds of thousands of Americans by allowing those same illegal aliens to take those jobs.”
Obama called President Trump’s decision, “wrong” and “cruel.” On his Facebook page, he wrote: “Whatever concerns or complaints Americans may have about immigration in general, we shouldn’t threaten the future of this group of young people who are here through no fault of their own, who pose no threat, who are not taking away anything from the rest of us.”
A Push for Immigration Reform
White House press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, stated that Trump “wants to see responsible immigration reform, and he wants to be part of it.” She indicated that Trump would support legislation to “fix” the DACA program, as long as Congress passed the policy in the context of a much broader immigration overhaul—one that strengthened the border and protected American jobs.
For now, the Department of Homeland Security will stop processing any new applications for the DACA program. However, they will continue to renew permits for anyone whose status expires during the next six months, giving Congress time to come up with a plan before any of the current DACA members lose their ability to work and live in the U.S.
Individuals who may be affected by this policy change or other immigration reform initiatives should contact an experienced immigration lawyer in Las Vegas to find out what options may be available.