The DACA Decision: Torture For Our Nations Youth

Update as of 11:28 AM September 7th

Virginia among 15 states and DC to sue Trump administration over ending DACA

After buckling from the pressure of a lawsuit from a group of Anti-DACA Republican state officials from 10 states, including Texas, Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Idaho, Kansas, Tennessee, South Carolina, Nebraska, and West Virginia— led by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton — President Trump announced the rescission of DACA in 6 months which includes the immediate termination of any new applications.

Breaking news from New York (Reuters): In response to this short-sided act fifteen states and the District of Columbia filed a lawsuit on Wednesday challenging President Donald Trump’s decision to end protections and benefits for young people who were brought into the United States illegally as children.

The multi-state lawsuit filed by a group of Democratic attorneys general to protect beneficiaries of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program argues their state economies will be hurt if residents lose their status.

The lawsuit seeks to block Trump’s decision and maintain DACA.

The lawsuit claims Trump’s decision was “motivated, at least in part, by a discriminatory motive” against Mexicans, who are the largest beneficiary of the program. It points to his statements from the 2016 presidential campaign.

The attorneys general also argue the government has not guaranteed DACA recipients that their application information will not be used “for purposes of immigration enforcement, including identifying, apprehending, detaining, or deporting non-citizens.”

We will keep you posted on any new developments.

Update as of 8:28 PM September 6th

Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in a press conference that the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, better known as DACA, will fully expire on March 5, 2018.

“The program known as DACA that was effectuated under the Obama administration is being rescinded,” Sessions said. “The policy was implemented unilaterally, to great controversy and legal concern.”

What this means, simply:

  1. Effective immediately, the Department of Homeland Security will stop taking new applications.
  2. The Program will fully expire in 6 months.
  3. DACA Recipients can renew permits until October 5th.
  4. DACA recipients will not be a priority of deportation – in theory.
  5. DREAMERS will now have to wait for congress, and no one knows how this decision will impact them.

How you can help!

Provide support: If you know a Dreamer, be there for them. This is a difficult time, so listen to their concerns and provide emotional support. Also, share mental health resources that could help them deal with the uncertainty over the next six months.

Organize: There will be several pro-Dreamer protests this week. Join one and make your voice heard. Or, look for immigration organizations you can donate your time or money to. Here is a list of national groups that could use your help.

Call your representatives: Congress is back in session after summer recess, and your elected officials have their plates full with other issues. This is the time to call and ask them to pass comprehensive legislation that will help Dreamers, even after DACA ends. Find your Senators  and Representatives of the 115th Congress. You can also use the Dream Act Toolkit to identify if your senators and representatives are key swing votes who could help pass the DREAM Act.

Update as of 8:26 AM September 4th

(WASHINGTON) — President Donald Trump is expected to announce that he will end protections for young immigrants who were brought into the country illegally as children, but with a six-month delay, people familiar with the plans said Sunday he will delay in the formal dismantling of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, program to give Congress time to decide whether it wants to address the status of the so-called Dreamers in legislation, according to two people familiar with the president’s thinking.

But it was not immediately clear how the six-month delay would work in practice and what would happen to people who currently have work permits under the program, or whose permits expire during the six-month stretch.

Original article:

A 41-year-old man who was adopted by Americans as a baby was deported to South Korea.
-Headline from The Guardian

Stories like these is why DACA is so important. For whatever reason children were brought illegally into the country, forcing them to be deported to an unknown land is wrong.

Termination of DACA would mean allowing repatriation of immigrants who came to the US as children, in some cases, have built families and had kids in the US—as American citizens, and those children would be separated from their parents, were they to be deported.

It’s a sobering look into what it means to live with the fear that you might be taken away from everything you have ever known because the country you were raised in does not think you have a right to stay.

On Tuesday September 5th Trump is expected to announce the fate of some 800,000 people in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program to great fear that it will be dismantled.

Who, What, Why, How – DACA

The decision to focus on DACA over other immigration reform bills is due to a number of Republican lawmakers who hope to force the president’s hand in discontinuing the program.

During his presidential campaign, Trump referred to DACA as “illegal amnesty.” Ending DACA had been one of Trump’s campaign promises. However, he seemingly signaled that he had softened his stance on the program in April when he told the Associated Press that DACA recipients could “rest easy.”

In a letter a group of Republican state officials from 10 states, including Texas, Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Idaho, Kansas, Tennessee, South Carolina, Nebraska, and West Virginia— led by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton — called out Trump to stop granting relief from deportation and work permits to young unauthorized immigrants under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program set in place by President Obama in 2012.

And if he doesn’t, they’re threatening to sue and force him to.

Attorney General, Ken Paxton
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, leader of the Republican group of 10 States opposing DACA, and his wife Angela Paxton (Rose Baca/The Dallas Morning News)

The letter (obtained by Chris Geidner of BuzzFeed News) raised the threat of the successful lawsuit filed by 27 Republican state governments against the Obama administration’s 2014 expansions of deferred action. The states successfully prevented the expansion of DACA (and a related and much broader program to protect parents of US citizens and green card holders) from going into effect, thanks to a deadlock at the Supreme Court in 2015. But it left DACA, in its original form, alone.

Now the same states are threatening, using the legal argument that killed the second phase of Obama’s deferred action, that they’re going to go back and knock down the first one too.

Trump is expected to announce that the program will end but will still allow those currently in it to stay in the U.S. until their work permits expire – which, for some, could be as little as two years, at most.

Photo: Getty Images

Not all GOP party leaders agree with the stance against DACA. “There’s a lot of folks that, you know, it’s a tough vote,” Mike Coffman (Colorado, Republican) said in an interview with The Hill. “But if given the choice of having the program suspended and young people being deported who are working here and going to school here legally, albeit temporarily, I think that’s a visual that the majority of members of Congress don’t want.” Even White House Press Secretary Paul Ryan, a supporter of immigration reform in the past, has urged Trump on Friday not to end DACA. “I actually don’t think he should do that,” Ryan said of Trump’s consideration of terminating the program. “I believe that this is something that Congress has to fix.”

Young DACA protester

In addition, nearly 2,000 leaders have signed a letter asking Trump to protect DACA recipients, including eight governors. It is estimated that thousands would lose their jobs if DACA gets suspended.

“As leaders of communities across the country – individuals and institutions that have seen these young people grow up in our communities – we recognize how they have enriched and strengthened our cities, states, schools, businesses, congregations and families,” the letter said.

From the corporate sector Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg wrote a status in support of the policy. “We need a government that protects Dreamers,” he wrote. “Today I join business leaders across the country in calling on our President to keep the DACA program in place and protect Dreamers from fear of deportation.” Those business leaders include Apple CEO Tim Cook, Crate & Barrel CEO Carol Segman, Esso Skin Care Owner Kathleen Cook, TaskRabbit CEO Stacy Bown-Philpot and hundreds of others.

The fact is, the pace of illegal immigration appears to have slowed down since 2007, although it’s still not entirely clear whether that’s due to better enforcement or temporary factors like the weak economy.

In the United States, a nation of immigrants and the largest country of migration in the world, legal immigration still makes up the biggest chunk of the foreign-born population. Of the 43 million foreign-born residents in the country, about three-quarters are here legally. And over the past two decades, Pew notes, the United States has added an average of 1 million legal residents per year.

As for DACA, immigrant advocacy groups are pushing for a longer-term fix to keep DACA while House GOP leaders haven’t offered any support to help advance a bill to better serve our nations children and shield young immigrants from deportation.

Politically, the fight is tough. DACA DREAMers are the most politically sympathetic unauthorized immigrants there are — they’re US-raised, fluent in English, well-connected and often, contributing members of society. There’s a reason the DACA program didn’t get the kind of legal battle when it was introduced to the courts in 2012 but with the new White House administration those same republicans are emboldened and feel they are owed what was promised.

No excuses.

Penned by Nichelle Cole