Thursday is the end of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, starting a terrifying six-month clock before DACA recipients will lose the legal protection that prevents possible deportation.
DACA gave certain undocumented immigrants who came here as children temporary amnesty. If accepted to the program, after significant vetting, DACA recipients were eligible for work permits and college enrollment and deportation was deferred for two years and could be renewed.
The program gave young immigrants a chance to get a step closer to the American Dream.
Now DACA is gone and the uncertainty is real.
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President Donald Trump ended the program — created by former president Barack Obama via a controversial executive order — avoiding a potential and protracted legal battle over the program. But he has expressed sympathy for DACA recipients and gave Congress an ambitious six month window to get their act together and pass a similar law.
If Congress doesn’t pass a DACA replacement, young people who were brought to the U.S. as small children could be forced to return to nations they barely know.
America will lose talented entrepreneurs, developers, laborers, scientists, teachers, academics, volunteers, students, inventors, artists, performers.... the list goes extensively on.
This is scary time for immigrants, and the fate of hundreds of thousands of livelihoods, relationships, careers and families rest in the hands of the notoriously ineffectual Congress.
Congress' inability to pass comprehensive immigration reform was the impetus for Obama's executive order.
Here we are again.
Congress needs to shape up, put differences aside and take action. DACA could be a standalone piece of legislation or part of a comprehensive bill. Either way, it needs to become law.
We need to do our part. Call your elected officials — makes sure replacing DACA doesn’t ever get pushed to a back burner.
This is too important to get lost in the shuffle.