President Trump has, as expected, revoked the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, putting at risk nearly 800,000 immigrant youth and their families. As the granddaughter and great-granddaughter of immigrants myself, I see this as one more shameful act of the Trump administration.
DACA gave “Dreamers”—people who came to the U.S. before age 16 without documents—safety from deportation and the chance to apply for temporary work permits and other protections to help themselves, their families, and their communities. These are not the criminals pouring over the border that some would have you believe. Those who apply for DACA must have a clean criminal record and pass a background check.
According to the Washington Post, there will be some continuation for those already in the program:
The Department of Homeland Security said it would no longer accept new applications for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, which has provided renewable, two-year work permits to nearly 800,000 dreamers. The agency said those currently enrolled in DACA will be able to continue working until their permits expire; those whose permits expire by March 5, 2018, will be permitted to apply for two-year renewals as long as they do so by Oct. 5.
New applications and renewal requests already received by DHS before Tuesday will be reviewed and validated on a case-by-case basis, even those for permits that expire after March 5, officials said.
Make no mistake, though: This is an anti-immigrant, racist move that creates hardships for individuals and families, particularly families of color, and says that our country does not want hardworking people with a desire to contribute to our society and economy.
Now it’s up to Congress, as the New Yorker explains, to take action within the six-month window granted by DHS and create legislation to give Dreamers a path to citizenship.
Initial responses to administration’s move are still continuing to come in. Here are a few organizations to watch for ongoing news and specific actions you can take or support you can get:
- United We Dream and their DACA-specific site We Are Here to Stay, which includes a Mental Health Toolkit for Dreamers
- Immigration Equality (for LGBTQ-specific immigration issues)
- National Immigration Law Center
- Also follow the #DefendDACA hashtag
This is a human rights issue. This is a matter of keeping families together and giving them the tools to thrive. This is an LGBTQ issue because LGBTQ people are among them. This is a matter of remembering that immigrants are part of the warp and weft of our country, and to reject that is to risk an unraveling.