On September 5, 2017, the nation watched President Trump suspend DACA. We’re here to explain the consequences of this and detail options for current Dreamers.
It appears many Americans forgot about DACA until President Trump suspended it. Some guessed he might revisit the decision made by Former President Obama and even attempt to eradicate it, but none knew how big a political explosion it would cause. Massive protests have broken out all over the country by both partisan sides; it’s almost impossible to live daily life and not hear bits and pieces about the DACA decision. Unfortunately, information is easily misconstrued, regardless of political party. It’s important to know the facts about DACA, what happened to it, and the next vital steps for Dreamers.
What is DACA?
Former President Obama created DACA, or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, in 2012. He intended to allow unauthorized immigrants who came to the United States as children to be protected from deportation and legally work in the U.S. These individuals are called “Dreamers.”
Contrary to rumors, DACA is not a “free ride” for undocumented immigrants. To be eligible, one must be younger than 31 on June 15, 2012, and must have come to the United States before the age of sixteen. Additionally, one must have lived here before June 15, 2007. Recipients may not have felonies or serious misdemeanors on their records.
To apply for DACA, illegal immigrants must pay a $495 application fee, submit several forms, and produce documents saying they meet the requirements. Most people don’t know that they must also have to have completed a high school degree or the GED to stay eligible. It can be renewed every two years and does not provide a path to citizenship.
What happened to it?
The Trump Administration rescinded DACA on September 5, 2017, to the dismay of Democrats and Republicans alike. However, he delayed the final decision for six months to give Congress time to decide what exactly will happen to current Dreamers.
A current Dreamer’s status will expire in six months, pending the Congress decision. New applications have halted for now, but applications submitted before September 5, 2017, will continue to be processed.
For now, some of the Dreamers are safe. But the announcement means that if Congress fails to act, immigrants who were brought to the United States illegally as children could face deportation as early as March 6, 2018, if their status isn’t renewable by March 5. They will then be deported to countries where many left at such young ages that they have no memory of them.
On September 25, 2017, The New York Times revealed three senators introduced a bill that would offer young undocumented immigrants a slow path to citizenship, though it is unclear if Congress will pass it (read the article). Perhaps Congress will find a compromise between the two parties, and Dreamers won’t be left with nothing.