DACA, or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, marked its fifth anniversary this month. Nearly 800,000 young people have received DACA, and one-quarter are enrolled in higher education.
The president’s campaign promises always suggested that the future of DACA was uncertain. But a lawsuit threatened by ten Republican state attorneys general has added pressure to end the program. The state attorneys say they will file suit in an unfriendly court if the administration does not phase out the program by Sept. 5, 2017.
There are many possible scenarios. Some speculate that the administration will announce the sunset of the program, stop approving applications and ask Congress to deliver legislation.
Even if the administration does not end the program, it is not clear the Department of Justice would defend DACA in court. White House chief of staff Gen. John Kelly (formerly Homeland Security Secretary) was reported to have told lawmakers he did not think the program would survive a legal challenge.
Several bills have been introduced in Congress, including the bipartisan Bridge Act (to protect current DACA recipients) and the Dream Act (to extend similar protections to young people in the future). Recognizing America’s Children Act was introduced in the House by DACA-supporting Republicans.The Immigrant Law Center of Minnesota is a local nonprofit encouraging people to voice their support of the legislation.
For anyone with DACA or thinking of applying for DACA:
If you currently have an attorney, talk to your attorney.
If you do not have an attorney or if you have questions about how your status might affect your academic plans, consult with Marissa Hill-Dongre, director of the Immigration Response Team. Marissa is an immigration attorney and can talk to you about your situation and help you find appropriate legal resources. Contact Marissa at firstname.lastname@example.org or 612-624-4224.
University departments and units, including all UMN system campuses, can also consult with Marissa as well if they have concerns about how the uncertainty or changes to DACA might affect their students.
The National Immigration Law Center has provided a detailed list of questions for those with DACA or who are thinking of applying for DACA, including both positive and negative factors to consider for different situations.
For more resources and information related to immigration issues, visit the Immigration Response Team website.