By Marcelo Rochabrun
Since he became president, Donald Trump has been pondering whether to continue one of President Obama’s signature immigration programs.
Known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, the program has granted almost 800,000 young immigrants since 2012 the possibility to live legally in the United States, obtain a work permit and travel abroad — all while receiving the government’s word that they will not be deported unless they commit certain crimes. To be eligible for the program, immigrants have to have been brought to the U.S. before age 16 and lived here continuously since 2007.
But a decision to end DACA may be imminent, according to numerous recent press accounts.
What Is DACA?
DACA emerged as the Obama administration’s response to the failed DREAM Act — a bill that, in various forms, moved unsuccessfully through Congress between 2001 and 2011. The DREAM bill would have permanently legalized young immigrants who had been brought to the U.S. illegally as children.
When that legislation finally failed, Obama created similar programs through executive orders, starting with DACA in 2012. That means DACA can easily be undone by Trump or any other president, which would not be the case if legislation had been enacted.
Why Is DACA in Peril?
A number of Trump’s advisers oppose the DACA program; they consider it to be executive overreach. Among the administration officials espousing that view are Attorney General Jeff Sessions and White House policy advisor Stephen Miller.
Trump, who campaigned on pledges to expel illegal immigrants, has expressed sympathy for those protected by DACA. At a February press conference, he said he was going “to deal with DACA with heart” and that the immigrants granted that status were mostly “some absolutely incredible kids.”
DACA has affected the lives of 800,000 young immigrants and we want to tell those stories.
In July, however, Trump sounded more neutral when asked about the program: “It’s a decision that I make.”
Since then, a coalition of state attorneys general who previously won a court ruling striking down a similar Obama program — DAPA, which would have given similar protections to undocumented parents — said they would tack on DACA to their so-far successful DAPA lawsuit. They gave Trump an ultimatum: get rid of DACA by next Tuesday or be prepared to defend it in court.
On Friday, NBC News reported that Trump “appears likely” to end the program. But no official announcement has been made.
What Can Trump Do and What Would the Effects Be?
Trump has few options. He can keep the program as is, leaving its defense in the hands of AG Sessions. But it’s unclear if Sessions would defend DACA in court, given his often-stated contention that the program is illegal.
Trump could also let DACA die a slow death, by deciding to block the renewal of work permits. Without permits, those protected by DACA could lose their jobs.
“I think the most likely scenario is that the Department of Homeland Security will stop reviewing DACA applications and renewals,” said Julia Gelatt, a policy analyst with the Migration Policy Institute. “Young people have a two-year work authorization that would expire over time.”
If that were the case, about 1,000 immigrants per day would lose their legal protections. That would expose them to deportation, like the rest of the 11 million undocumented immigrants who live in the U.S. What worries some is that DACA recipients have identified themselves to the government — providing their home address, among other things — and as a result, could be more easily located and detained.
Who Are the DACA Immigrants?
Half of the people receiving DACA protections live in just two states: California and Texas. Almost four in five of them are Mexican citizens, and most are in their twenties. A study conducted by MPI’s Gelatt found that 76 percent of DACA recipients are active members of the labor force, many of them in office jobs.
“We saw in our data this move from outdoor jobs, which you associate with undocumented workers, toward white-collar jobs,” Gelatt said. “If DACA recipients lose their work authorization they may lose access to the white collar jobs.”
Help Us Shape Our DACA Reporting
Knowing what’s at stake, we want to hear from DACA recipients about how they are living, preparing and coping with an uncertain future. A cancellation of DACA could affect you if you are currently abroad, if your DACA status is tied to your college financial aid or if you are currently employed. In all cases, it could affect whether you are able to remain in the country. DACA has affected the lives of 800,000 young immigrants and we want to tell those stories. So, how does DACA affect your life? Please tell us by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org any of the three questions below:
- What, if anything, have you been able to achieve with DACA?
- If Trump cancels DACA, how would that affect your future?
- When does your work permit expire?
- What Is DACA And Who Are The Dreamers? – Donald Trump is scrapping the Obama-era program for children brought to the US illegally. Here is everything you need to know about it… Read the Rest
Dolores Huerta: Build a Wall of Resistance Against Trump Ending DACA
Democracy Now! (9/1/17)
President Trump is expected to decide the fate of the immigration policy known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, threatening to overturn the Obama-era program that protects nearly 800,000 undocumented immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children. Fox News, Reuters and McClatchy all reported Thursday that Trump will end DACA, citing an unnamed senior administration official who said the U.S. will let DACA recipients remain in the U.S. for up to two years until their work permits expire. But at the White House, Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders insisted the president has not yet come to a decision.
Immigrant rights groups and their allies have pledged mass mobilizations in response to any move to cancel DACA. We get response from Dolores Huerta, legendary civil rights activist and co-founder of the United Farm Workers of America with Cesar Chavez, now president of the Dolores Huerta Foundation for community organizing.
- Olbermann Calls Out Minority Pastors Who Continue To Back Trump And Demand They “Condone” After DACA Decision: “You are next!” – Long-time broadcaster Keith Olbermann demanded that “shameless opportunist” conservative clergy of color apologize for supporting President Donald Trump. 6-Minute Video
- Seth Meyers Drags Trump For ‘Cruel And Capricious’ DACA Decision – The president is “needlessly tormenting” hundreds of thousands of young people, the “Late Night” host says. “So you have a president needlessly tormenting hundreds of thousands of hardworking Americans with a cruel and capricious policy that is supported neither by a majority of voters nor the leaders of his own party,” Meyers said on his late-night show. “So why do Republicans continue to stand by him?”: 9-Minute Video
- Jimmy Kimmel: Trump Dismantled DACA To Distract Public From Russia Probe – Jimmy Kimmel ripped President Donald Trump’s decision to dismantle the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program on Tuesday night. “Our president woke up and asked his staff, ‘Now that this hurricane is over, what’s something horrible I can do to distract people from the Russia investigation?’” the “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” host said. “Someone said, ‘You know, there are 800,000 innocent kids you could deport for no good reason,’ and he said ‘done and done.’”: 2+-Minute Video
Quote Of The Week…
“He’s just like he is on TV. He’s an asshole, but he’s our asshole.”
— Republican Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA), quoted by the San Diego Union Tribune, discussing Donald Trump with a group of curious young Republicans. Hunter was one of Trump’s earliest supporters during the campaign. Says something about the congress critter that being “an asshole” is such an important criteria to him for being the party leader and president. Hunter’s description of Trump could be extended o the entire republican party and especially to those republicans who oppose Trump policies but remain silent. There is a special circle of hell for such craven opportunism and cowardice…
– Mark L. Taylor, Editor
(Commoner Call by Mark L. Taylor, 2017. Open source and free to use with link to www.thecommonercall.org )