Since being implemented by the Obama administration as an executive order in June 2012, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) has saved more than 752,000 immigrants who entered the country as children from deportation. The immigration policy offered undocumented immigrants temporary relief from deportation, while also allowing them to obtain renewable work permits and seek employment legally.
DACA opened opportunities to undocumented immigrants, who previously had to overcome several barriers to reach their full potential. Thousands have been able to seek work legally, apply for driver’s licenses, and go to university without worrying about their immigration status, which in turn made them better equipped to be contributing members of their respective communities. In other words, they were able to experience the American Dream, or at the very least, enjoy rights many Americans take for granted.
Trump Presidency Poised to Endanger DACA
But the incoming Trump administration could end DACA and place its beneficiaries in danger of being removed from the country. Throughout the campaign trail, President-elect Donald Trump has promised to end DACA and the rest of President Obama’s executive actions. While it remains to be seen what exactly Trump will do, ending DACA is well within the authority of the Office of the President.
But one thing is clear, should Trump end DACA in a single sweeping action or by allowing work permits to expire, the result will be thousands upon thousands of young immigrants losing their jobs, shutting them out of the labor market with no legal option for work. According to projections by the Center for American Progress, a nonprofit dedicated to progressive policy research and advocacy, the cumulative effect of DACA beneficiaries losing their work permits would lead to the national GDP losing more than $430 billion over the next 10 years.
Moreover, states with large immigrant communities and DACA recipients would have their economies negatively affected.
- California, which has over 187,000 DACA workers, would see their GDP plummet by $11.3 billion ever year because of the reduced workforce
- Texas, another state with a high concentration of DACA recipients, would lose over $6 billion annually
- North Carolina would lose $1.9 billion every year
Lawmakers Cross Party Lines to Save DACA Recipients
In response to the very real likelihood of DACA being repealed, federal legislators have crossed party lines to protect DACA recipients from deportation. Senators Lindsay Graham (R-South Carolina) and Dick Durbin (D-Illinois) recently introduced a bipartisan bill called the Bar Removal of Individuals Who Dream of Growing Our Economy, also known as the BRIDGE Act, which extends the policies outlined in DACA for another 3 years.
It’s a concerted effort that comes in the heels of a Donald Trump interview with TIME Magazine, where he said he would “work something out” for young immigrants. It’s an important start, but only time will tell if Congress will take up the bill.
If you or a loved one is concerned about the effects of DACA being repealed and want to know what your legal options are, schedule a consultation with the immigration law team of the Lyttle Law Firm. Call our offices today at (512) 215.5225 to learn how our services can help you.