Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (“DACA”), has been a politically charged and relatively controversial program since its establishment in June 2012 under the Obama administration. Through this program, certain undocumented immigrants who entered the United States as children, and meet other narrow standards, are allowed to apply for two years of deferred action, meaning that they would be able to postpone any deportation proceedings for two years. The idea behind DACA is to give some protection to undocumented immigrants who have lived in the United States for most of their lives after their parents moved them here as children and who are, in every sense of the word other than actual status, American.
In short, this temporary form of relief allows underage immigrants the ability to avoid deportation and grants them authorization to legally live and work in the United States for a set period of time which can be renewed. While the program does not grant permanent lawful status, it has been immensely helpful to over 750,000 undocumented immigrants who entered as children, and can now remain in the country without the day-to-day anxiety of being removed.
It’s no secret that President Trump has taken a hard stance against immigration, both during his campaign and his time in office. Between the multiple attempts to implement his controversial travel ban and a notable increase in ICE raids since he took office, many suspected that President Trump would move to either eliminate or severely limit the DACA program in the early months of his administration.
In a shocking twist of policy stances, President Trump has recently stated that he has no immediate plans to disband the DACA program. He has inexplicably reversed his original promise in August 2016 to “immediately terminate President Obama’s two illegal executive amnesties,” and he is now referring to DACA as a “very tough subject,” recognizing that there are many “absolutely, incredible kids” who fall under the protection of the program.
To many, however, this news is not entirely comforting. While the administration seems to be putting a hold on Trump’s campaign promise to disband the DACA program for now, this does not guarantee the future safety of those already under DACA’s protection or those who are eligible to apply in the future. For undocumented immigrants, the uncertainty of their future is still in jeopardy because any protections they are afforded can be revoked at any time. Understandably, President Trump’s campaign promises still linger and dishearten those who have no other form of immigration relief.
While the policy is in limbo, it is important to stay up to date with all immigration policy changes. If you are currently in the United States under DACA or are seeking to apply for DACA in the future, we recommend consulting an immigration attorney to explore possible alternative forms of relief. For all immigration inquiries, please contact an attorney at Stilwell & Slatton by calling 202-333-2100 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.