There has been a lot of confusing back-and-forth news about DACA and the future of Dreamers in America. Back in early September, President Trump announced that he would end DACA in six months, giving Congress a small window in which to work out legislation to replace it.
The move was a fulfillment of a campaign promise. It was also a major blow to the nearly 800,000 young people currently enrolled in the program.
President Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions made a reasonable point that a program like DACA should be legislated by Congress, not enacted by the president. Even Barack Obama did not want to create DACA. It was a last resort that he was pushed to when Congress failed to act. Now, Trump is forcing Congress to act. The trouble with this scenario is, if Congress fails to take action, those 800,000 people could lose their ability to live and work in the US, which is the only country many of them know.
The good news is that, on September 13, the Democratic leadership claimed that they had struck a deal with Trump that would allow Dreamers to stay in the country in exchange for border security measures that do not include funding for Trump’s wall.
President Trump and the Republican leadership promptly denied that any deal had been struck the next morning.
Now, the waters are murky. The democrats still seem confident that Trump will work with them – evidently Trump and Chuck Schumer have a good rapport – but it’s nearly impossible to get a straight answer out of the administration.
Trump later said that he did not want to throw out people who are “good, educated, and accomplished,” but also said that he is not considering giving Dreamers citizenship or amnesty. Exactly what he has planned is anybody’s guess.
What DACA Does
In its current form, DACA lets young people in their teens to mid-thirties who were brought to the US illegally as children get permits that allow them to legally work in the United States. It also registers the addresses and personal information of everyone enrolled, so if the program is dismantled, ICE could very swiftly round up and deport everyone in the program. For many Dreamers, they would be sent to countries that they have no memory of and in which they don’t speak the local language.
DACA by the Numbers
72% of DACA recipients have a higher education, according to Newsweek. The average hourly wage of DACA recipients went up from $10.29 per hour before receiving DACA to $17.46 per hour after receiving it. The Center for American Progress estimates that the US economy would lose about $460 billion in GDP over the next ten years without DACA, and about 700,000 people could lose their jobs.
What DACA Recipients Need to Know
You can check here for the latest official information from the federal government about DACA. Please speak to a lawyer to get the latest and best advice. The following information should be considered a guide only:
· It’s our understanding that your DACA work permit will remain valid until its expiration date.
· No new DACA applications are currently being accepted.
· If you have a DACA work permit that is set to expire on or before March 5, 2018, you must apply for a two-year renewal by October 5, 2017.
· You should not travel abroad until the future of DACA is settled.
For more information you can contact the Department of Homeland Security’s U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.