DACA, explained

In September 2017, President Donald Trump rescinded another immigration policy established by former President Obama. The policy is known as DACA (Deferred Action of Childhood Arrivals. After 8 months in office, President Trump’s administration was repealed. Since the action was enormous and questionable, it immediately led to chaos. However, no one can truly know the full impact of repealing DACA.

What is DACA?

On June 15, 2012, the Deferred Action of Childhood Arrivals (DACA) was announced by the Secretary of Homeland Security. It was one of the American immigration policies that was a signature accomplishment of  former President Obama’s administration. This action allowed immigrants who entered the United States illegally at an age of 16 years and younger, currently under 31 years old, and continuously resided in the United States from June 05, 2017 to present time, get protection from the government. These immigrants would receive a “renewable two- year-period of deferred action from deportation” and they would even get a work permit. Approximately 800,000 undocumented immigrants were protected by this policy. This particular program under the DACA policy is called the Dreamer Act bill, the individuals under this program are called “dreamers”.

Why did DACA get repealed?

In November 2014 President Obama wanted to expand the program. He asked to expand the range of undocumented immigrants to older immigrants and parents whose children were U.S. citizens, which increased the coverage  to 4.5 million immigrants. This expansion became known as the deferred Action for Parents of Americans ( DAPA.) Shortly after, twenty- six states sued the Obama administration because they did not want to absorb this larger population. Eventually, the Supreme Court decided to uphold the appellate court’s decision to block the implementation of DAPA, stating that the expansion was unconstitutional. Many people started to consider the DACA program itself to be unconstitutional, since the expansion was considered unconstitutional.

The controversy remained during the election. President Trump took a stand against the undocumented immigrants. He was harsh and claimed that Americans were giving them too much privilege, they only brought crime, drugs and other negative influences to the United States. The DACA program was in definite risk. However, after President Trump was inaugurated, he didn’t repeal DACA immediately. People who were anti-immigrant continuously put pressure on President Trump. Eventually, in September 2017, the DACA program was repealed.

What impacts will the removal of DACA have on the United States?

Approximately one month after DACA was repealed, the controversy over this action hasn’t ceased. On one side, Americans are saying that repealing DACA is the right choice to solve the immigration conflict. On the other side, dreamers and other immigrants protested because they have established lives in the United States. One protester, Bret Stephens, said in The New York Times that “the U.S. is composed of immigrants, and that kicking immigrants out will hurt the U.S. as a country.”

The repeal of DACA  created a severe situation for the dreamers. Before 2012, they were living in fear of being deported, but DACA saved them from this situation; they could have a green card, and get a job. During those 5 years, dreamers became deeply rooted into the United States, and into many companies and large and small, creating productive lives. Once DACA was repealed, dreamers were back in the shadow of deportation.


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