President Donald Trump reportedly plans to end an Obama-era program that gave young undocumented immigrants temporary protection from deportation, but only after a six-month delay to give Congress a chance to provide a legislative solution.
The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA, grants undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as children the ability to receive two-year work permits and protection from deportation. Now these so-called “Dreamers,” who have built roots in the country, will deal with uncertainty for months on end as the government decides what comes next for them.
Juan Escalante, a digital campaigns manager for pro-immigration group America’s Voice, put together a Twitter thread Sunday night to shine a spotlight on the anxieties Dreamers will have to contend with over the next months.
In over 20 tweets, Escalante, himself an undocumented immigrant, gave a guide to some of the logistical and emotional considerations he and others now face.
Escalante, who came to America as a kid from Venezuela, said the idea of losing DACA status is dehumanizing.
Two of the biggest perks of the DACA program were the opportunities to work and to attend higher education institutions. Dreamers began to plan out their lives, but now they’ll have to put many of their plans on hold as they wait to see how Trump’s choices affect their future.
Since the program was enacted by President Barack Obama, nearly 800,000 undocumented immigrants have been granted protected status. Dreamers finally could obtain driver’s licenses and loans, and start families without fear of separation.
Without clear direction as to what will happen to the DACA program, Dreamers are left to wonder whether they will all be at risk of being deported. If that were to happen, it would mean 700,000 people would exit the American workforce, leaving behind jobs as well as their debts.
Escalante also points out what deportation would mean if he were sent back to Venezuela, a country in the midst of violent political and economic upheaval.
Trump has denounced Venezuela’s problems, threatening Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro with possible military action. The United States also imposed financial sanctions on Venezuela in August, tightening an already dire economic situation for the country.
Most Dreamers have only known the United States as their home, as all of them were brought to the country as minors. Deportation to countries where many haven’t lived since childhood would cause severe emotional distress.
Many questions remain about how the Trump administration will enforce changes to DACA, and in the months to come nearly 800,000 Dreamers must attempt to prepare for what the future holds.