What's going to happen to the DREAMers?
We have some good news and bad news about DACA.
Bad News: Congress still has not been able to agree on protection for the DREAMers. Honestly, they haven't been able to get anything done.
Good News: The Supreme Court refused to review federal judge's order that called for the DACA program to stay in place. Wait, how is this good news? Well since they refuse to review the case, it'll take it's normal course through the appeals court...which might take a while. So during this time it's going through the legal battles, DACA will stay in place.
Congress comes back from recess this week and the squabbling will most definitely continue. Here's what you need to know about DACA.
DACA the basics:
- The DACA program was created by former President Barack Obama in 2012 and allowed people who came to the U.S. illegally as minors to be protected from deportation.
- These "DREAMers" were able to request deferred action for two year periods.
- DACA status was possible for individuals who were under the age of 31 on June 15, 2012, came to the U.S. before turning 16 and continuously lived in the country since June 15, 2007.
- Close to 800,000 people are under the protection of the program.
What did Trump do?
- Trump announced in September 2017 that the administration phase out the program for current recipients and will no longer grant anymore protections.
- He set a March 5th deadline for Congress to come up with a solution for the DACA recipients, whether that's a path to citizenship or some form of protection from deportation.
- Congress has failed to include protections during both government shutdowns and currently DACA is only alive due to federal judge injunctions.
Well what happens if DACA actually ends?
- Roughly 1,000 DACA grantees will lose their protections and work permits every day. That's 7,000 each week, 30,000 each month, more than 350,000 in the first year, nearly as many the following year.
- Overnight, they would lose the ability to work legally, which essentially means their jobs. Moreover, many will lose their health insurance.
- Many would lose their driver's license, and would increase their risk of deportation if they were caught driving.
- All will live everyday with the anxiety of deportation.
Why hasn't Congress been able to come up with the solution?
Well, the solution isn't as much of the problem as agreement from both parties on legislation. It's a game of leverage. The Democrats have had leverage during the past two shutdowns to not waiver on DACA protection but that did not end up happening. At this point, the Democrat's don't have the leverage and the Republican's current strategy is forcing the Democrats to accept a deal to save DACA on their terms or get nothing except blame for hanging the "DREAMers" out to dry. Some of these terms include:
- Terminating the visa lottery program, which grants 50,000 visas a year to promote geographic diversity.
- Stopping the ability for citizens and green card holders to sponsor family members beyond spouses and minor offspring
- Wall stuff. Including billions of funding.
The white house has said that Trump will veto any bill that doesn't advance his common-sense immigration reforms"Now the Democrats are in a position to have to make certain concessions on immigration in order to protect the DREAMers.
So what's going to happen?
- DACA currently lives as two federal judge put an injunction on Trump's executive while the legal challenges to it continue. At this moment, DACA is accepting applications for two-year permit renewals, though it is not taking new applicants.
- With the Supreme Courts refusal today, the program will be tied up in legal battles and continue to run.
- Congress will duke it out in the coming weeks and predicting what's going to happen seems impossible at this point.
Let's hope for the DACA recipients and for the future of American Immigration.