With the DACA deadline passing, and still no action on immigration from either Congress or the White House, we discuss the various consequences from its protections lapsing.
(TPT One-Shots are smaller questions that we find interesting, but don’t necessarily think they need a dedicated Issue to explore. Also, it’s a good way for us to answer questions and comment on current political trends while we create the larger Issues. In this installment, we look at what the March 5th DACA deadline meant for thousands of Dreamers in the US.)
Last September, President Donald Trump had announced that his administration would be ending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. These protections allowed Dreamers – adults that were brought to this country as small children – to thrive in American society by letting them have legal status in the US. Yet as of March 5th, the DACA protections that were granted to Dreamers by the Obama administration will expire. So what does that mean for Dreamers living in the US? Here are three things to know about the DACA program lapsing.
(1) Mass Deportations of Dreamers are Unlikely: For many of us, the talk over DACA protections are theoretical debates that we go back-and-forth, hitting on the very nature of immigration in the US. Yet for over 700,000 Americans, this talk is more than just a theoretical debate on US immigration; it’s a decision that has major ramifications to their lives. Now with the DACA deadline passing, many Dreamers now face the viable threat for deportation, even though for many, America has been the only place they have ever called home. Yet, mass deportation of Dreamers would need backing from the White House and would be a logistical nightmare to move forward. While we have come to rule nothing out from the Trump administration, however the amount of effort and coordination needed between Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the Trump administration would be monumental for something that would be looked at as politically toxic. Also with many US cities and counties (aka “sanctuary cities”) not being as helpful in spotting out undocumented immigrants to ICE, the logistical obstacles present make mass deportation of Dreamers unlikely.
(2) Don’t Look at Congress for a DACA Solution: We should make one thing perfectly clear; majority of Congress, along with the general public, are in strong support of protecting Dreamers through DACA protections. So why wasn’t legislation passed for DACA protection before the deadline? For Congress, their irrefutable differences came in the details of how they viewed the DACA solution. Many Republicans wanted an increase in border security – specifically in terms of funding for a border wall – in turn for DACA protections, while many Democrats were instant that DACA protections be passed as a clean bill. Eventually, Congress just couldn’t get passed these differences to create legislation on DACA protections, which leads to where we are today. Immigration advocates look to have lost faith in a legislative solution for the time being and have started to focus their efforts on the two court cases looking into DACA protections. It’s easy to see that with the current Congress, this stalemate on immigration reform isn’t going anywhere.
(3) Dreamers Dropping Out from the System Entirely: While mass deportations of Dreamers are unlikely, the real fear is if they start to disappear “back into the shadows.” As many have speculated, this is a move that is most likely to happen. With Dreamers now being susceptible to deportation, they are less likely to integrate into American society as easily. This can have a myriad of negative consequences, ranging from losing political representation to being less likely to cooperate with local law enforcement. With DACA protections being rolled back for thousands of individuals, the problem of immigration reform has gotten even more complicated. Which makes it less likely that it will get solved any time soon.
(Photo Credit: Google Images)