U.S. District Judge Nicholas Garaufis slammed the Department of Homeland Security’s stubborn October 5 deadline for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) status renewals, calling it “a position which is heartless,” adding that it is “unacceptable to me as a human being and as a person.” DACA is an Obama-era immigration executive order designed to allow undocumented immigrants, also known as DREAMers, who entered the United States as minors to stay and be permitted to work in the country for as long as they renew their status every two years.
What is DACA?
Under DACA, DREAMers can apply for renewable work permits, driver’s licenses, and even go to college without having to fear for their immigration status. For immigration rights advocates, these individuals might as well be American citizens, as they no other home aside from the United States, being too young to remember life in their native country.
The program does not necessarily lead to citizenship, but this did not stop the Trump administration from phasing out the program as part of its immigration policy. The government has been resolute in its six-month timeline to cancel the program, with Deputy Assistant Attorney General Brett Shumate responding to Garaufis that the department does not intend to extend the deadline.
DACA recipients now have until the 5th of October to renew their status.
In a September 26 hearing for arguments against the DACA rollback, Shumate said the decision to set and hold fast the October 5 deadline was a “decision not made lightly,” adding that the action is aligned with President Donald Trump’s plans to end the program in orderly fashion.
What Does the DACA Phase-out Mean?
The DACA phase-out will lead to more than 200,000 DACA beneficiaries losing their deferred action status in 2017, with another 275,000 individuals losing their status in 2018.
Garaufis, however, does not find that the figures accurately represent the reality of the DACA situation. He claims that “there aren’t only 800,000 people affected by what may happen here, there are literally millions.” This is only one of many statements made by the federal judge on the negative impact the program rollback may make.
Garaufis also read social media posts from the President, pointing out that the administrative branch seems to be having second thoughts on the program phase-out.
“Does anybody really want to throw out good, educated and accomplished young people who have jobs, some serving in the military?” said President Trump in a September 14 tweet on Twitter.
Legislation in the Works
For now, DACA is set to end on March 5, 2018, giving Congress just a few months to work out legislation that protects DREAMers from being forcefully evicted from the country. So far, Republicans have tried to introduce a conservative-friendly DACA-like bill, which includes provisions for a 15-year road to citizenship and the establishment of a merit-based residency program for people who arrived in the country before the age of 16.
If you, or a loved one, are a beneficiary of DACA concerned about your immigration status, schedule a consultation with the legal team of the Lyttle Law Firm to learn about your constitutional rights. Call our offices today to talk to immigration attorney Daniella Lyttle.