Trump Decides to End DACA with Six-Month Delay
By Isabel Paner, Brandon Cadiz, Lily Batchelor, Caitlyn Dang
Posted on September 14, 2017, 11:57am PST
The Trump administration announced its plan to end the Obama-era executive order DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals), which will uproot the lives of 800,000 individuals currently protected under DACA. The decision has been given a six-month delay, giving Congress time to act and continue shielding undocumented immigrants who came to the United States as children from deportation.
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services’ website has also been updated to reflect Trump’s decision. According to DACA’s section, DACA is “no longer accepting initial requests.”
Homeland Security Acting Secretary Elaine Duke said the Trump administration “chose the least disruptive option,” and that “the Department of Justice has carefully evaluated the program's constitutionality and determined it conflicts with our existing immigration laws.”
Attorney General Jeff Sessions called the program an “unconstitutional exercise of authority by the executive branch,” and that it “denied jobs to hundreds of thousands of Americans by allowing those same illegal aliens to take those jobs."
DACA is an Obama-era executive decision that allows undocumented immigrants, who came to the U.S. before age 16 and have resided here since June 15, 2007, to legally obtain employment, get driver’s licenses, pay taxes, and enroll in college. Enacted in 2012, DACA also protects these individuals, known as “Dreamers,” from deportation. They must reapply every two years, and DACA does not give Dreamers a path towards legal U.S. citizenship or residency.
When he was initially elected, Trump expressed sympathy towards Dreamers, saying, “They shouldn't be very worried. I do have a big heart. We're going to take care of everybody.” Despite this statement, immigration advocacy groups and politicians have called Trump heartless, leaving thousands of people in limbo.
Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer said Democrats, "will do everything we can to prevent President Trump's terribly wrong order from becoming reality."
House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., also opposes Trump’s decision to end DACA. He said it was up to Congress to find a viable solution, and that, “there needs to be a legislative solution, that's one that we're working on, and I think we want to give people peace of mind." If Congress fails to act before DACA’s expiration date, almost 300,000 people could lose their Dreamer status in 2018, and another 320,000 more would lose it by 2019.
President Obama, who rarely walks back into the political spotlight since leaving office, posted a statement on Facebook decrying Trump’s decision to take away opportunities from young people living in the only country they’ve ever known.
In the Bay Area, a few notable residents of the Peninsula voiced out their opinions regarding President Trump’s decision. U.S. Representative for California’s 14th Congressional District, Jackie Speier, posted a statement on her Facebook page on September 1, just a few days prior to President Trump’s decision:
“President Trump, please don’t make an historic mistake by ending DACA. DACA immigrants entered as children and grew up in America. These Dreamers are the fruit of our education system and in many cases are poised to continue their lives into adulthood through enormous contributions to our nation.These young people trusted our government when it offered recognition of their status and a chance to fully participate in creating our future. I will be joining with my colleagues to demand justice, and legislation, for DACA children.”
On September 5th, the morning after President Trump announced he will be getting rid of DACA, Congresswomen Speier took to Twitter:
“This is a sad day for our country. The decision to end DACA is not just wrong. It is particularly cruel to offer young people the American Dream, encourage them to come out of the shadows and trust our government, and then punish them for it. The young people covered by DACA are our friends and neighbors. They contribute to our communities and to the economy. I've gotten to know some Dreamers over the past few years, and I've always been impressed by their strength and sense of purpose. They don't deserve to live in fear.”
Silicon Valley is widely affected by President Trump’s ruling. Currently, companies like IBM, Microsoft, Google, Apple, and Facebook, recruit workers from overseas thanks to the H-1B visa program, allowing companies to recruit coders and other skilled workers overseas. In an article by ben Popper on The Verge, Apple will protect 250 workers under DACA. Apple also submitted over 23,000 petitions in 2016 for H-1B workers.
In an article by The Daily Journal, Kevin Skelly, superintendent for the San Mateo Union High School District, ensured that students will be welcomed in classrooms and that they will do all they can to provide for them, “I think this is a travesty. These are kids who didn’t choose to come to the country. We are going to continue to swing hard for any kid that walks through the door.”
Skelly would continue emphasizing how hard these students in the DACA program work, and how if they feel that they are being treated differently their education would suffer, “When your possibility to work and get an education after high school is severely diminished, it’s just human nature to not invest as much in your education as you would otherwise.”
Scott Bon Durant, Director of College Success Programs at 10,000 Degrees, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping students with low-income backgrounds complete college educations, has emailed members and shared a self-filmed video on social media stating, “No matter what happens with DACA, today or six months from now, the California Dream Act is a completely separate state law, and all of you (students) who are getting financial aid through the Dream Act will continue to get financial aid from the California Dream Act this year, next year, after that. It has nothing to do with DACA.” He continues, in his video, to assure students that they are welcome to contact 10,000 Degrees if they have any further questions or concerns with the dilemma. In addition to Scott’s personal messages, 10,000 Degrees has also released an email providing all of their students and families with links to sources and websites that will help them educate themselves more about the DACA and California Dream Act.
10,000 Degrees is currently collaborating with Canal Alliance to host DACA renewal workshops at their local headquarters. It is clear that the community at 10,000 Degrees is making an enormous amount of effort to ensure that everyone in their program who is affected by DACA is receiving help and support during this time of crisis.
This decision affects a number of students here at Dominican. Mary B. Marcy, Dominican’s President, reached out to staff and those affected saying, “We have DACA students, also known as dreamers, on our campus. Other members of our community may not be Dreamers themselves, but have family members who will be affected. Whatever the outcome of the national debate, the impact of this decision on some in the Dominican community will be profound.” She went on to add, “Dominican supports every person seeking to create a better future for themselves and for our world, every individual who enhances our community by their courage, every student who arrives seeking a meaningful education. I stand with them.”
Gaby Bermudez, Dominicans’ Housing and Residence Life Coordinator has been assigned to support and inform those affected by this decision. She addressed those affected by DACA’s repeal in her statement, “It is a critical time for our community to stand together and in solidarity with our undocumented students, friends, families and colleagues - take care of yourselves and each other. It was through the work and activism of our youth that we got DACA in the first place - continue to empower young undocumented students and their allies to raise their voices and be heard. For further guidance and support, I offer my office as a safe and brave space to talk about the ways in which this decision is affecting you and provide resources for next steps.” Gaby can be contacted at Gaby.email@example.com or by phone at (415) 485-3277. She is fluent in both English and Spanish.
Congress has six months to take action, and there are many ways people can try and sway the decision. One can openly protest the repeal, as well as calling or writing their senator or congressman. Another easy way to help is by texting RESIST to 504-09, and then providing name and zip code when prompted. The bot at the end of the line will then send a letter to officials in favor of DACA. Although times like this are pressing, local college students who are affected can rest assured knowing that they are surrounded by supportive communities.