4 Things to Help You Understand DACA

 

 

On September 5, 2017, President Donald Trump announced his plans to repeal the DACA policy. This policy allowed children of undocumented immigrants to live and work in U.S. without the fear of being deported. As of this year, it was estimated that nearly 800,000 residents are protected under the DACA policy. Congress will be allowed a six-month period to come up with a solution for residents that will no longer be eligible.

1. What is DACA?

DACA, or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, is an immigration policy that Former President Barack Obama put into place in June of 2012. The recipients, also known as Dreamers, must follow strict guidelines and an application process in order to be approved. This policy allowed child immigrants to stay in the United States without fear of being deported and also made them eligible for a work permit. This permit is valid for two years, and for anyone looking to stay for longer, they would be able to renew it at the end of the two-year period.

2. How does someone apply/become eligible?

There are very strict rules when it comes to applying for DACA. The following are just some of the eligibility requirements:

·      Arrived in the U.S. before their 16th birthday AND are under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012

·      Have lived here continuously since June 15, 2007

·      Have completed high school, received a GED or are currently enrolled in school

·      Have not been convicted of a felony and no prior misdemeanors

To apply for DACA, people are asked to provide many legal documents to prove that they are eligible for the program. The following are just some of the documents required for applying:

·      Proof of identity and age (i.e., that you arrived before you turned 16)

·      Proof of permanent residence and that you were present in the U.S. on June 15,2012

·      Proof that you have graduated or are currently enrolled in school

Along with this information, an applicant may be asked to fill out numerous applications and forms. Each of these forms also comes along with a fee and must be paid in order for an application to be processed. On top of these strict application rules, once someone is approved, they must also follow strict laws regarding jobs, education and travel.

3. What should I know about the repealing of this policy?

For the next six months, congress will have the opportunity to come up with a solution or fight back against the policy. For those that are covered under DACA, they are eligible to renew their status so long as their benefits will expire between September 5, 2017 and March 5, 2018. Approximately 800,000 people will be affected by this change. For them, it means the loss of jobs, schooling, and residence in the United States. While it is unclear about how this will affect them, reports are showing that it may impact our economy. One study from the Center for American Progress shows that the loss of all DACA-eligible workers would reduce the GDP in the US by more than $400 billion dollars.

4. How can I make my voice heard?

The greatest way for you to get involved is to first educate yourself on what exactly DACA is. Next, contact your local or state representative and also members of Congress. Members of Congress that are said to be most important to contact are those “Swing Vote” members. This would include people such as Paul Ryan, John McCain, Orrin Hatch and Susan Collins. The Center for American Progress has created a handy tool kit to quickly connect people the via phone to Congress. One last way is to spread the word, stay active with social media and within your own community to find ways to help the people around you that may be affected. By helping in one of these ways, it’s more likely that Congress will hear its people and quickly try to come up with a solution.