On September 5, the Trump Administration announced the eventual elimination of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival or DACA. The official announcement was delivered by Attorney General Jeff Sessions. It begins another “repeal and replace” debate but this time the President can repeal all on his own.
DACA allows an undocumented young person brought into the country at a young age to stay here if certain conditions are met. The original DACA order was issued by President Barack Obama in 2012. More than 780,000 young people have applied for and are covered under the DACA rules. This issue has been uncertain over the past year as candidate Trump had taken a position against continuation but the President had sounded a more sympathetic tone since January.
Under the directive a person’s DACA is valid until its expiration date, DACA and work permits (Employment Authorization Documents) will remain valid until its expiration date, no new DACA applications will be accepted by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) after September 5, 2017, there will be no Advance Parole to travel abroad with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) no longer granting DACA recipients permission to travel abroad through Advance Parole. Any pending applications for advance parole will not be processed.
HERE TO STAY has developed answers to some questions that DACA covered individual may have about their current status, employment impact, access to certain services such as health care, driving restrictions, education and other concerns, here
There are currently four bills in Congress that could replace DACA: the 2017 DREAM Act (S. 1615/HR 3440), the Hope Act (HR 3591), the Recognizing America’s Children (HR 1468) and the BRIDGE Act (HR 496). The National Immigration Law Center has an analysis of how these four bills differ with some attempting to merely transition out of the program with no eventual transition to citizenship to those that would continue the protections while allowing a path toward citizenship if certain conditions are met.
The DREAM Act sponsored by Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Senator Richard Durbin (D-IL) and in the House by Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA) and Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) are the most desirable bills and closest to past DREAM Act legislation that dates back more than a decade.
CWLA has endorsed the bills and signed onto a support letter, as we have in past sessions of Congress. Supporters are asking for immediate action by Congress and went on to say in the letter,
“The decision to end DACA will have negative consequences for children and youth across the United States. It immediately caused an upheaval for almost a million young immigrants, who are once again worried about their safety and security in the only country they call home. Dreamers reported that receiving DACA gave them hope for the future, instilled a greater sense of belonging and value, and reduced their fear of authorities. Being forced back into the shadows will have significant and harmful impacts on their mental health and well-being. Dreamers are now also forced to worry about how they will continue to support their families and fund their education without the ability to work.”
Here are some resources and information by various organizations:
- From the National Education Association (NEA) 1-800 call to Action alert and NEA Resources for Educators Supporting Dreamers
- From the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) resources
- UnidosUS (formerly National Council of La Raza) resources: FAQs
- American Immigration Council Practice Advisory on screening for immigration relief
- Know Your Rights materials
The Stanford Law School and the California Charter Schools Association have published a guide on legal obligations to provide education to undocumented students and actions schools can take to protect the educational rights of undocumented children.