Every other Thursday, Equal Voice News tracks the latest from the Trump administration. This week we have a special report on what happens now that the Trump administration has decided to rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
When President Donald Trump decided to end the DACA program, he threw the lives and livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of young people into limbo.
What happens next?
The president essentially put Congress on the clock, giving lawmakers six months to enact a legislative solution that resolves the status of roughly 800,000 people who were brought to the U.S. as undocumented immigrants when they were children by their parents.
President Barack Obama created DACA by an executive action that offered these young people, known as DREAMers work permits and some protection from deportation.
But, what happens as that clock ticks down over the next six months is unclear. Trump’s Thursday tweet, at the urging of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, that DREAMers would not face deportation during those six months was met with some skepticism on social media.
Also, despite assurances from House Speaker Paul Ryan that DREAMers should “rest easy,” Congress is an unpredictable beast. Legislators have already tried and failed to deal with the problem. If legislators fail again, DACA is scheduled to end in early March 2018.
In the coming months, a few developments could signal how, or if, Congress will succeed this time in resolving the fate of DREAMers:
Will There be Enough Votes?
Ideas are flying around about how to resolve the DACA issue, according to The Washington Post. One idea is to wrap a resolution into broader legislation that also funds a new wall along the U.S.-Mexico border and a crackdown on immigration, The Post reports, an approach that likely won’t draw a lot of Democratic support.
Many DREAMers have made it clear that they are not bargaining chips that can be traded for a border wall. Many advocates also say that comprehensive immigration reform is the best path for progress.
Also, an existing bill that would deal with the issue, The Dream Act, already exists.
Can a Fix Catch a Ride?
Congress has a lot left to do this year, including must-pass legislation to raise the federal debt limit and provide emergency relief to communities hit hard by this season’s intense hurricanes. Legislators could add a straightforward fix to one of these measures, if there is the political will, The Post suggested.
How Deep is DACA Opposition?
What role will immigration hardliners in the Trump White House and Congress play?
There is some bipartisan support for helping DREAMers. But, there are conservative policymakers who could oppose any solution and fight to simply end the program and its protections.
When U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the plan to wind down DACA, he said the program was unconstitutional.
“To have a lawful system of immigration that serves the national interest, we cannot admit everyone who would like to come here,” Sessions added, according to media reports. He also said the process creates a “time period for Congress to act.”
One thing appears clear: A possible DACA fix is on the congressional agenda. But, it’s not yet clear how it will move off that agenda and become a reality.
As policymakers sort through their options and next steps, here are resources that can help DACA families navigate the next six months.
- Here to Stay, which seeks to protect immigrant youth, offers families Top 5 Things to Know About President Trump’s Announcement to End DACA. The resource includes guidance for DACA residents whose permits will expire during the next six months.
The group has additional resources, including:
- Frequently Asked Questions on DACA Termination
- FAQs: DACA Rescission and Workplace Rights
- Mental Health Resources
Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Los Angeles, a civil rights and legal services organization, created a summary of key points in the memo that rescinds DACA:
“No new DACA applications will be accepted as of September 5, 2017.
Current DACA recipients will continue to have their deferred status and work authorization until they expire.
Current DACA recipients whose work authorization expires between September 5, 2017 and March 5, 2018 can renew their work permits, but must submit their renewal applications before October 5, 2017.
No new applications of ‘advance parole’ will be approved, allowing DACA recipients to travel outside of the United States, and current holders of advance parole are not guaranteed admittance to the U.S.”
Plus, every Thursday in September the organization will hold clinics on renewing DACA at its Los Angeles office. Check here for details.
“(Y)ou will find our frequently asked DACA questions. In addition, we know that some of you may be eligible for other immigration benefits. Over the course of the next six months, Immigration Equality will be conducting free legal consultations for LGBTQ or HIV-positive DACA recipients who wish to explore other options.”
- Video: The Black Alliance for Just Immigration is sharing this link to a video that came out earlier this year. It’s about knowing your rights if a U.S. immigration agent approaches you.