The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, since its inception, has offered protection to an estimated 820,000 immigrants who are undocumented from getting deported. Surprisingly, virtually all the immigrants happen to have come to the United States while young, and have been residents for the last ten years. Currently, however, the progress is in serious jeopardy as the government is fighting to phase out the program.
So, what will happen to Dreamers if DACA is rescinded?
What Is DACA?
DACA is an American program founded in June 2012 that offers undocumented immigrants reprieve from deportation and eligibility to work in the US.
Who Are Dreamers?
Dreamers are typically those individuals who are protected under DACA. Approximately 787,580 undocumented immigrants had been approved for the program by the time Trump stated his decision to discontinue the program.
Those eligible for DACA were typically immigrants who came into the US as children below 16 years of age and have grown up as citizens. For applicants to qualify, they must have been below age 31 when the program was initiated. The applicants were also required to have no record of serious misdemeanors, felonies, or a threat to the national security.
Most Dreamers are reported to have come from Honduras, El Salvador, Mexico, and Guatemala. The White House also reports a huge number of them to being between 15 and 36 years of age. The majority of them reside in Florida, New York, Texas, and California.
Why Is It Being Reviewed by the Supreme Court?
In 2017, the Trump administration announced to rescind DACA, claiming that it was created unlawfully as the then president had exceeded his executive power. Then followed several legal trials in federal courts, declaring Trump’s decision was faulty-legal reasoning and failed to properly justify ending the policy. These permitted DACA to temporarily continue renewing recipients’ permits, but all new registrations were suspended.
Then, earlier this year the Supreme Court granted to review the case to determine if the administration’s move to end DACA was actually unlawful. So far, lower courts have been in supporting the initiative claiming that the decision by the administration was unlawful and they should provide a concrete rationale for ending the DACA program. The ruling is expected by the end of June 2020.
How Will This Change Affect Immigrants/ People/ Country?
The loss of the DACA would likely have immense consequences for Dreamers and a substantial impact on the nation’s economy.
• Loss of protection from deportation
DACA offers a two-year period of deportation shield and work authorization for eligible immigrants. Ending the program means recipients will lose their work permits as well as deportation protection as their DACA expires. By the end of 2019, at least two-thirds of DACA permits will have expired. Plus, an estimated 156,250 Dreamers would have no protections by July 2020.
According to a 2018 report, 89 percent of Dreamers are employed in different sectors across the country. Therefore, ending DACA would lead to significant economic consequences. It will reduce the overall GGDP by approximately 42 billion dollars.
• Lose Driving license
DACA recipients are allowed by all states to apply for driver’s licenses, which means that as their DACA permits expire, they could end up losing their driving licenses too.
While all 50 states currently permit DACA recipients to acquire driver’s licenses, about 12 states allow all undocumented immigrants. This means some of the recipients will be able to keep their driver’s licenses depending on the state they live.
• Education Opportunities
The end of DACA could result in higher education being less accessible for the recipients. Some recipients, however, will still enjoy education opportunities as several states allow in-state tuition even to undocumented immigrants. Additionally, some states have never permitted DACA recipients to cover in-state tuition.
Unfortunately, the larger numbers of undocumented students reside in states that allow DACA recipients to apply for public colleges but restrict access for undocumented ones.
This would mean Dreamers in such states would lose their eligibility for higher education once their permits expire.
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