Some 800,000 so-called “Dreamers” may be threatened by a decision to be made by President Trump on Tuesday when he determines whether to renew their Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) status. The program, which was introduced by the Obama administration in 2012, allows qualifying undocumented immigrants who entered the United States as minors to be protected against deportation and to obtain a work permit. The reason the program is being debated now stems from a threatened lawsuit involving ten states, led by Texas, that could eliminate the program if the Trump administration does not step in to support it.
Requirements for the DACA Program
To be eligible under the DACA program, an applicant must meet the following requirements:
You must have come to the U.S. before your 16th birthday;
Have lived continuously in the U.S. since 2007;
Be under the age of 31 by June 15, 2012;
Be physically present in America on June 15, 2012 and at the time of requesting deferred action;
Have completed your high school degree or a GED, or are enrolled in school;
Have not been convicted of a felony or serious misdemeanor.
President Obama tried to expand the DACA program, but an injunction filed by several states was ultimately upheld by the court system. Immigrant activists are pushing for the creation of new legislation that would permanently protect “Dreamers,” but until such legislation is passed the destiny of the program rests in President Trump’s hands.
The Importance of the DACA Program and Dream Act
The DACA program and the related Dream Act were created to protect many minors currently living in the United States that have lived here for the majority of their lives. They do not know any other country. If allowed to stay within America, these young people generally grow up to be productive members of society and keep their families intact. While there is general sympathy for the Dreamers and Congress has struggled to find a legislative formula to keep them here, the main problem with the program as it stands right now is that it is considered to be an over reach of executive power by many Republicans because it was implement by President Obama by presidential decree rather than through legislation.
By Andy J. Semotiuk for FORBES
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