DACA uncertainty leaves immigrants guessing
Although on the campaign trail he promised to rescind former-President Barack Obama’s protections of people who entered the country illegally as children, President Donald Trump’s so-far vague approach to immigration enforcement is leaving many to wonder when and if that hammer might drop.
The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, started in 2012, is a two-year work permit program that has deferred deportation actions for an estimated 728,000 people, known as “Dreamers.”
“That’s a lot of people. And to rescind it would be a very foolish move in terms of public relations and for the economy,” said Sophia Clark of the Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition.
Despite the president’s campaign rhetoric, Politico reported Monday that applications are continuing to be processed by the DACA program. White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said Monday that DACA is not among the president’s top priorities, and the initial focus for immigration enforcement will be upon people in the country illegally who also have a criminal record or pose a security risk.
Spicer said the White House also plans to wait to see what immigration enforcement legislation is proposed in Congress.
Though it appears there won’t be any immediate action against the program, “we’re still on high alert and very concerned about any action against DACA,” said Clark.
“If anything were to happen, we’re on alert and ready to respond immediately. And we’re monitoring any action on immigration, since Trump has threatened to take away so many immigrant protections.”
For now that means being publicly vocal against any move against DACA and letting legislators and the president know that the community is not OK with that, said Clark. “And right now it’s all speculation what such executive action would look like.”
CIRC is, however, hopeful that the “Bridge Act” being introduced in Congress will pass, essentially doing at the legislative level what DACA has done by executive action. That would also put the program beyond the president’s power to rescind single-handedly.
Colorado Rep. Mike Coffman is supporting the Bridge Act, but the bill will need Republican votes.
So CIRC has been petitioning Sen. Cory Gardner for his support as well, said Clark.
“We are preparing for the worst and hoping for the best,” said Clark. “We are definitely telling people to not let their guard down at this point.”
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