Fox News reported on Thursday that President Donald Trump could announce plans to abolish the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program as soon as Friday, September 1.
In case you’re terrible at dissecting acronyms, DACA is a program that the Obama administration fine-tuned to allow adolescent immigrants to temporary live and work in the United States. Essentially, the programs allows anyone who entered the country when they were under the age of 16 to defer their deportation, hence the “deferred” in the program’s title.
While there are many other criteria that need to be met in order for undocumented immigrants to be eligible for DACA, the program allows some people who have entered the country a grace period to either experience life in the United States or to take that time to apply and become a citizen.
Abolishing DACA could also have negative implications for the young people brought to the United States by their undocumented parents —referred to as DREAMers based on the proposed Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act that failed to pass in 2010. Though DACA and the DREAM Act are not the same, DREAMers are at risk for being deported if DACA is nullified.
A senior administration official told Fox News that, should DACA be axed, DREAMers will be allowed to stay in the U.S. until their work permits expire, which can give them up to two years to stay in the country. Although this might seem like a fair compromise to allow DREAMers to live out their work permits, DREAMers could face major challenges for finishing their educations and could face a scary reality of being deported from the only country they’d ever known.
Not to mention, as Vox noted, there was hefty criteria to become a DACA recipient that included being younger than 15 when they arried in the United States (before 2007), younger than 31 when DACA was created in 2012, having a spotless criminal record and being enrolled in high school or having a high school diploma or GED.
— Tammy Duckworth (@SenDuckworth) August 15, 2017
According to CNN, almost 800,000 people could be deported should Trump eliminate the DACA program. Although this might not seem like a big deal, especially to those of us who were lucky enough to be born in the U.S., these 800,000 undocumented immigrants are contributing members to this country.
Deporting this amount of people from the U.S., could have negative effects on the rest of the U.S. as well. Especially as it has been debunked hundreds of times that undocumented immigrants do not steal jobs (because those weren’t anyone’s job to “steal” in the first place.) Not only are they working in this country to help support the economy, they’re also bettering themselves by getting an education.
Meanwhile, as Politico reported, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a press briefing on Thursday that Trump has yet to make a decision on the fate of the program, regardless of what reports might’ve said. She added that Trump intends to treat the DREAMers with “heart,” echoing his previous statements on the subject.
While the rampant xenophobia targeted toward undocumented immigrants continues, we’ll continue following the fate of DACA —with fingers crossed that DREAMers can still dream.