Hundreds of thousands of DACA beneficiaries, colloquially known as DREAMers, may see their lives uprooted should the Trump administration end President Obama’s immigration actions, which allow undocumented immigrants brought into the country as children to apply for temporary legal work permits, a driver license, and deportation deferments.
Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program is an executive action currently protecting more than 752,000 young immigrants from deportation. Should DACA end, it would put thousands out of work, closing any legal opportunities for them to earn a living.
How Will Trump End DACA?
On the campaign trail, President Trump had repeatedly promised to repeal many of Obama’s executive actions on immigration, putting DACA squarely in his sights.
According to Cornell Law Professor Stephen Yale-Loehr, the Trump administration would have two main options for ending DACA:
- Allow DACA beneficiaries to hold on to their work permits until they expire.
- End the program immediately, which would likely entail sending notices to the 752,000+ DREAMers, giving them two weeks to reply.
Either way, Yale-Loehr notes that a repeal of DACA would take time.
Reactions Among DREAMers
Facing the very real likelihood of losing their work permits and jobs, several DREAMers are saving as much money as they can, while others are opening businesses to maintain a steady stream of income. Others are looking into the option of migrating to Canada so they can continue their careers and stay together with their families. Some are also looking for employers wiling them off the books, putting themselves at risk.
Immigrant rights activists are planning to pressure the Trump administration to keep the program, holding protests should the need arise.
Ending DACA should put Trump under a favorable light for his supporters, who saw his hard line stance on immigration as one of the key reasons for voting him into office. Trump’s campaign platform had revolved around bringing back jobs and cracking down on what he referred to as “dangerous illegals.”
DACA Draws Bipartisan Support
Yet in his first interview after taking office, President Trump, voted TIME’s Person of the Year, said that he would “work something out” for DREAMers that would “make people happy and proud.”
“They got brought here at a very young age, they’ve worked here, they’ve gone to school here. Some were good students. Some have wonderful jobs. And they’re in never-never land because they don’t know what’s going to happen,” he said.
Anticipating a DACA repeal, members of the Senate have crossed party lines to introduce a bill to protect DREAMers from deportation. Senators Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) and Dick Durbin (D-Illinois) have worked together to pass legislation that would officially enact a system of temporary work permits and deferments for undocumented immigrants. Unlike Obama’s executive action, it would require Congress to repeal the law, rather than just the unilateral actions of the White House.
If you or a loved one needs more insights on DACA and its future under President Trump, we encourage you to talk to the Lyttle Law Firm. Call us at (512) 215.5225 to schedule a consultation with immigration attorney Daniella Lyttle.