Recent Uncertainties for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals

The current political climate in the United States has placed the continuation of many programs created during the Obama administration into question. One such program is DACA. An acronym for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, DACA is a program that allows people who entered the country as children without documentation, to be exempt from deportation for a period of two years. Those who qualify for the program are also able to receive a work permit and are able to renew their participation in the program. The program creates a higher education option for many high school school students who graduate without documentation, as some states allow DACA members to qualify for in-state tuition. To qualify for the program, applicants must also meet other criteria. The program was created in 2012 by the Obama administration.

Recently, as described by the Frontera Fund, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton requested that the Trump administration repeal the program by early September. The attorney general threatened the administration with legal action if the program was not revoked. The request was sent in the form of a letter in which the attorney general requested a phasing off of the program by denying participants the possibility of renewing their membership. The letter was also signed by nine other attorney generals from other states across the country.

Another recent event has also placed the continuation of this program into question. Last month, members of the Hispanic Caucus met with Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly. In the meeting, the secretary mentioned that the program may be at risk, and that the 800,000 members who participate in the program may be at risk of eventually losing their status. In the meeting he cited the legal cases that are challenging the program as the reason.

Now in it’s fifth year, the program has been very beneficial to many young Americans and their communities. The vast majority of the program participants, ninety-five percent, either study, work or both. Their tuition payments are beneficial to college communities, and they are able to improve the tax base of their communities once their careers are established. The potential loss of the program has caused many participants to fear for their immigration status, but more community participation and organization can help reduce the efforts of those who wish to eliminate the program.

 

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