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DACA Dreamers at Risk of Deportation

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DACA supporters

DACA supporters

via Wikimedia Commons

via Wikimedia Commons

DACA supporters

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In 2012, former President Barack Obama implemented Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals  (or DACA), a system protecting immigrants brought into the U.S. as children. The program allows these citizens to attend school, find work, take loans, and enjoy other rights Americans have access to. There are over 3.6 million DACA recipients, or Dreamers, in the U.S. today, the majority coming from Mexico and many others coming from South America, Asia and the Caribbean. Obama had introduced DACA to resolve political disagreement on how the U.S. should address immigration, but now, the debate may reopen with President Trump’s act to eliminate the system.

As of September of last year, Trump ended DACA after pressure from conservative state attorneys, who argued that the policy was an act completed far past the limited abilities of the President. The motivation for ending DACA was also revealed in the President Trump’s statement, “…few in Washington expressed any compassion for the millions of Americans victimized by this unfair system”, referring to natural-born citizens whose jobs were “stolen” by immigrants. Trump has been vague as to how he would alleviate the issue, and, ultimately, passed the decision to Congress. Throughout this process, he has also made multiple demands concerning what he wants in return for passing DACA, as shown in his post on social media stating: “The Democrats have been told, and fully understand, that there can be no DACA without the desperately needed WALL at the Southern Border and an END to the horrible Chain Migration & ridiculous Lottery System of Immigration etc. We must protect our Country at all cost!”

In this social media post, the three acts Trump outlines are to end chain migration, end the Diversity Immigrant Visa program (the Lottery System) and to build a border wall to block Mexico from the U.S. Chain migration is a process where an immigrant can sponsor relatives to migrate to America, who can then also sponsor more relatives to immigrate (allowing an immigrant to, as Trump states, “bring in virtually unlimited numbers of distant relatives”). The Diversity Immigrant Visa program is another system Trump wants to end because, as it chooses 50,000 immigrants randomly for citizenship each year, he believes it may allow potentially dangerous people into America. His final act was to build a border wall to separate Mexico and the U.S. in order to prevent “rapists, criminals and gang members” from entering America. If citizens do not support these three plans, DACA will end and Dreamers will be deported, as shown in the President’s statement, “Cryin’ Chuck Schumer [referring to U.S. Senator, Charles Schumer] fully understands, especially after his humiliating defeat, that if there is no Wall, there is no DACA. We must have safety and security, together with a strong Military, for our great people!”

Now, given this background, citizens are wondering what will ultimately happen to the future of DACA. Congress’ set deadline for finding an alternative to the system is March 5th, currently only a few days away. Though this target date seemed serious when it was first chosen by Trump in September, many people are unconcerned as the day grows closer. Two federal courts are actively blocking the president from ending the program and, as Vox.com states, “ It’s all but official that Congress has failed to meet it [the deadline].” As a result, when March 5th arrives, “…the unraveling of DACA, up to that point relatively slow, would get faster,” but the program will not be eliminated altogether (Vox.com). However, other sources claim that DACA recipients are still at high risk of losing their standing and being deported. ThinkProgress states that many Dreamers missed their renewal of DACA that was available from September 5th (when the deactivation was first announced) to a month after because of the devastating and distracting hurricanes that occurred at the time, and because of mailing issues that forced DACA paperwork to come after the deadline ended. The decision, ultimately, was reversed and the deadline was extended to October 2017. But, there are still people who were unable to renew DACA and are losing their statuses every day, with about 20,000 people currently who have lost their statuses and an average of 122 recipients losing their statuses every day. These Dreamers, without protection from their statuses, are being deported every day, though recent news shows that recipients can still be detained while under the power of DACA.

In August 2017, Mario, a construction worker who lived in Virginia was in the process of renewing his application to DACA when he was deported to El Salvador by federal immigration agents. 23-year-old Juan Manuel Montes, who has lived in America since he was 9-years-old, was also deported in 2017 despite being under the protection of DACA. There have been many other cases of deportation of Dreamers since then, showing the seriousness of DACA’s termination. Experts suspect that these occurrences will grow more frequent and more severe, but it’s difficult to know for sure.

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DACA Dreamers at Risk of Deportation