Connecticut "Dreamer" organization skeptical of Trump administration shielding young immigrants

Olive Rios
June 19, 2017

On the fifth anniversary of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program Thursday, the Trump administration formally revoked an Obama-era program meant to protect parents of US citizens and legal residents who were in the country illegally.

Despite campaign pledges to the contrary, the Trump administration signaled Friday that it is keeping in place Obama-era protections for so-called "Dreamers" - immigrants who were brought to the USA illegally as children.

The Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) says Trump's leaving DACA in place "undermines" other directives the president issued in an effort to crack down on illegal immigration.

The decision continues, at least temporarily, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA program. A memorandum by Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly said the DACA program "will remain in effect".

DAPA affected certain undocumented immigrants who are the parents of children who are USA citizens or legal residents. DAPA was never fully implemented [DHS fact sheet] because "federal courts halted the policy". Thankfully, the executive order never went into effect, because of a lawsuit by 26 states and an injunction ultimately upheld by the Supreme Court previous year.

"There has been no final determination made about the DACA program, which the president has stressed needs to be handled with compassion and with heart", Jonathan Hoffman, assistant secretary for public affairs at the department, told the New York Times.

"But my future is still in their hands and undecided", she said.

Mary Meg McCarthy, executive director of the Chicago-based National Immigrant Justice Center, said DAPA's defeat makes the decision regarding the dreamers "bittersweet".

Young undocumented immigrants - the so-called Dreamers - could breathe a little easier this week after President Donald Trump reversed his campaign pledge to end the program that has protected hundreds of thousands of them from deportation.

Despite his campaign pledges to eliminate DACA, Trump had repeatedly expressed empathy with program participants, often referred to as "dreamers".

As with DACA, Trump had promised to end the program affecting parents of US citizens and residents. More than 700,000 young people, many of whom college students, benefit from the DACA program, and many college leaders have called for it to be continued. "Already, we have seen many people contacting us, fearful that DACA is no longer in effect, once they hear the news that the DAPA memo was rescinded".

And DHS went further, saying that individuals who were mistakenly given three-year DACA permits, rather than the usual two, as DAPA would have allowed, would have their three-year permits honored and not terminated early.

The implementation of DAPA would have applied to an estimated 5 million undocumented immigrants.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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