5 Things The Media Isn't Telling You About DACA

On September 25, 2017, president-elect Donald Trump made one of the most important executive decisions on immigration: ending DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) which will affect the lives of more than 800,000 immigrants. But, what exactly is DACA?

Nearly 800,000 immigrants are enrolled in this program, according to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

 

#1 “It is not a law, but an executive order”

The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program is that which allows people who were brought into the U.S. illegally by their parents to be protected from immediate deportation, and it provides them with temporary licenses to work and study. The program didn't give them a path to become U.S. citizens or even legal permanent residents—something immigrant rights advocates have criticized, saying it left people in limbo.

The program was enacted by President Obama as an executive order, not a bill passed as law. This decision has been very controversial because, as a Sovereign nation, people have the right to decide who enters their country and decisions like these have to be passed as a bill and go through Congress. This led to a lot of people commenting the program was unconstitutional.

 

#2 “Most DACA recipients aren’t kids anymore”

The term “DREAMers” is used for youths that were brought to the US illegally by their parents as previously mentioned. In DACA, most of the participants are in their 20’s--or even as old as 35.

DACA recipients also have jobs, serve in the military and even pay income taxes.

 

#3 “Not all Dreamers are from Latin America”

One of the biggest misconceptions is that DREAMers jumped the fence and came to the United States of America.Though almost 80% of recipients come from Mexico, DACA recipients come from all over the globe. DREAMers come from countries such as Brazil, Portugal, and even Canada, totaling to more than 120 developing countries. The full list of all the countries and respective recipients is here.

 

#4 “Immigrants can obtain citizenship through serving in the military.”

Naturalization is a process that constitutes applying to become a citizen of USA after having lived here for a while. It is one of the three ways of becoming an American Citizen. The other two consist of being born here or having at least of one of your parents as a US citizen. Naturalization is a very common practice for non-US born residents.

Fun fact: Melania Trump is the first naturalized US citizen to become First Lady.

A Defense Department Officer told Fox News that the U.S. Defense is one of the few government employers that accepts undocumented immigrants for work. The spokesmen reiterated that DACA recipients could consider this as an option.

 

#5 “The majority of DACA participants live in Metro Areas.”

According to Immigration Services data from March, about one-third of DACA applicants listed California as their state of residence. This should come as no surprise since California is now one of two states where the largest ethnic group is no longer white people (the other state being New Mexico). In the state of California, Latinos are the largest ethnic group, surpassing others by 47%.

Nearly half (45%) of current DACA recipients live in just two states: California (29%) and Texas (16%). Illinois (5%), New York (5%), Florida (4%) and Arizona (4%) also have significant populations of active DACA recipients.

 

So what’s next for DACA recipients? Are they getting deported? Not quite. No speaker from the White House has spoken about imminent deportation for DACA participants.

Though Donald Trump gave recipients until March 6, 2018 before any actions are taken place, he did go on to express endearment for recipients when he told the media at the White House: “I have love for these people.”

Some political experts have stated that the reason Trump eliminated DACA is to return the power to the legislative branch. So far, it is unsure what the future holds for DACA Recipients. However, by spreading the word you can raise awareness and help DREAMers. Sign the petition here.