2016-DEC-21: "Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals" (DACA) students & adults may be in a precarious situation:
DACA refers to the "Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)" program of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. It is directed at some undocumented youths and young adults who were illegally brought into the United States by their parents, grew up in the country, and currently have no legal status there. They are often referred to as "DREAMers." DACA allows some of them to apply for temporary relief from the threat of deportation for a period of two years. They may request renewal of their status at the end of the two year interval. According to the web site of the Homeland Security's web site on 2016-NOV-12, individuals may request DACA if they:
"Were under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012;
Came to the United States before reaching their 16th birthday;
Have continuously resided in the United States since June 15, 2007, up to the present time;
Were physically present in the United States on June 15, 2012, and at the time of making their request for consideration of deferred action with USCIS;
Had no lawful status on June 15, 2012;
Are currently in school, have graduated or obtained a certificate of completion from high school, have obtained a general education development (GED) certificate, or are an honorably discharged veteran of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States; and
Have not been convicted of a felony, significant misdemeanor, or three or more other misdemeanors, and do not otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety." 1
According to the Voice of America, most of the DACA individuals come from Mexico, followed by Guatemala, El Salvador, South Korea, Honduras and China. The average age of a DACA recipients when she or he arrived in the U.S. was 6.5 years. 11
Unfortunately, for the nearly 800,000 individuals who have obtained protection under DACA, this program was implemented by an executive order signed by President Obama, not a bill passed by Congress. About 25% of them live in California. President-elect Trump has promised, in an act of unusual cruelty, to rescind all of these executive orders quickly after taking office, leaving DACA students and adults without protection from deportation. In many cases, the United States is the only country they have known. Many regard themselves as Americans.
However, during his campaign for the presidency, Donald Trump once said:
"We love the DREAMers. We love everybody."
Some colleges and universities are recommending that some students who are traveling abroad return to the U.S. before noon on 2017-JAN-20. Otherwise, if Trump implements his Muslim ban immediately after taking office, they might find themselves prevented from entering the country.
Radio station WBUR-FM in Boston, MA, described a typical individual with protection under DACA. During 2003, Daishi Tanaka was brought to Los Angeles illegally from Japan at the age of 6 by his parents. He recalls:
"I walked into my first grade classroom and I saw the diversity -- everyone of all shapes, colors, sizes, personalities melding to one under the flag -- and that, I loved." 2
There is a reason for his surprise at the diversity in the class. According to Kristin Ronzi of Georgetown University:
"Japan is known for having one of the most homogeneous ethnicities in the world." 3
About 98.5% of Japanese are of Japanese ethnicity. 4
Along with hundreds of thousands of other young people, Daishi Tanaka was granted temporary protected status as a result of DACA.
It is not only individuals under DACA who return to the U.S. from a visit after JAN-20 who might have been without status in the country. Hundreds of thousands of individuals who have spent their childhood and/or youth in the U.S. under DACA may be systematically rounded up and expelled to the country if Trump implements his promise.
Mary Holper, the director of the immigration clinic at Boston College Law School is appealing to DACA students and students who have not yet applied for DACA. She said:
"If you haven't applied yet, it's pretty risky to apply because you could be putting yourself on the list for deportation. You have to put your addresses on the application. You could be putting at risk anybody in your family."
On the other hand, she said that DACA students would be exposing themselves to little additional risk if they renew their status under DACA. That is:
"... because they already know about you, so to the extent that Trump is going to use this --I hope he won't -- as a list for deportation, you're already on it, so to me that risk seems very low.
I would say come home before [JAN-20], because the advanced parole that they were given is still highly discretionary. Every single time you come back in the border, you are facing the individual discretion of the officer that lets you in at the airport, and that officer is going to have a different boss with different priorities come January, and so I would say come home." 2
Recent polls by Gallup concerning President-elect Trump:
A poll taken among 1,033 adults on 2016-NOV-2 to 5, just before Election Day on NOV-08, found that:
Donald Trump (R) received the most unfavorable score (61%) in Gallup's polling history, which goes back to 1956.
Hillary Clinton (D) received the second most unfavorable rating (52%)
The next most unfavorable rating was way back in 1964 with Barry Goldwater (R) at 47%.
Just after election day, Gallup polled 511 cell phone and land line users about their feelings towards Donald Trump's election as president. They were given a series of emotions and asked if they agreed. Results were:
Among all adults
Among Trump voters
Among Clinton voters
Because of the small number of subjects sampled, the margin of error was ~+mn~4.3%. 6
2017-SEP: Update on the DACA program:
Fortunately, President-elect Trump has been changing his stance on so many topics that he may not carry through with the persecution of DACA students. Some may be eligible -- now or in the future -- to apply for full citizenship.
During 2017, Attorneys General from Texas and nine other Republican-led states issued President Trump an ultimatum. They consider the DACA program illegal because it was implemented by President Obama's executive order, and not by Congress. They have threatened legal action if he did not end the program by 2017-SEP-05. 7 However, Attorney General Herbert Slatery III (R-TN) said on SEP-03 that Tennessee would no longer pursue a lawsuit.
Kamal Essaheb, director of policy and advocacy at the National Immigration Law Center, said:
"Everyone who has seen DACA ... should really be appalled by this legal low blow on the part of Texas. It's nothing sort of shameful, it's nothing short of repugnant." 9
President Trump has announced that he is going to make a statement on DACA on 2017-SEP-05. A number of media outlets have predicted that he plans to terminate the DACA program effective in early-2018-MAR. This would give Congress a six-month time interval in which to pass a DACA law. It would also provide DREAMers with time to go undercover. 7
On SEP-01, more than 200 persons gathered outside the Los Angeles federal office building asking that the DACA program be continued. They chanted:
"If they don't let us dream, we won't let them sleep." and
"The people united will never be divided." 8
Many clergy and the CEOs of Microsoft, Apple, Google, Facebook, Starbucks, and other companies support DACA and are urging the president to allow the program to continue. 8
According to an NBC News/Survey Monkey poll, 64% of U.S. adults support the DACA program. 10
Officials in New York and Washington states have indicated that they will challenge Trump's decision in court if he disbands DACA. Governor Andrew Cuomo (D-NY) said:
"We should not and cannot sit on the sidelines and watch the lives of these young people ruined. We have both a legal and moral obligation to make sure that the laws are faithfully executed without discrimination or animus." 11
An editorial in Bloomberg said:
"...there is no good reason to deny Dreamers’ participation in American life, and to deny Americans the benefits of Dreamers’ participation in the economy. In a world of complicated trade-offs, easing the path of Dreamers into education, employment and citizenship is an easy call. Trump should keep the promise to Dreamers. And Congress should pass the Dream Act of 2017 to secure it." 10
"Sottovoice," a reader of the Daily Kos article, posted a personal comment:
"While it's good to know that a solid majority of Americans don't support the hatefulness of our president, unfortunately he cares nothing for the opinions of the public, or the pain and suffering his actions cause real human beings. He makes his decisions based upon jealousy and burning hatred of Obama, and his habit of spitefulness. As long as the GOP 'leaders' continue to abdicate their moral responsibility, we can expect more cruel, unnecessary, punishing decisions." 10
We try to add quotes to our articles representing both sides to each argument. However, in the Daily Kos article, all 15 readers' comments were negative.