Ritu Jha –
The fact that current recipients of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals can still renew applications as long they have not yet expired was greeted with approval by Lakshmi Sridaran, director of national policy and advocacy for South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT).
The 700,000 DACA recipients got this break as a result of a Supreme Court decision January 22 to not hear the case in this, the summer term. The court is to decide on February 15 which cases it will take up this fall. The DACA recipients include about 25,000 people from India and Pakistan.
It was in 2012 that President Barack Obama issued an executive order giving temporary work authorization and protection from deportation to those children of undocumented immigrants that come to the US before they turned 16.
Sridaran told indica that advocates are advising those on DACA to submit their renewal applications 120-150 days before their permit expires.
She expressed disappointment that first-time DACA applications are not yet being accepted. On April 24, 2018, a US district court in the District of Columbia issued a ruling requiring the US Citizenship and Immigration Services to resume accepting first-time DACA applications — but this order did not go into effect immediately. August 17, 2018, the court partially stayed the order. Due to this, USCIS is not accepting applications from those who have not obtained DACA previously.
SAALT, a national, non-profit organization that fights for racial justice and advocates for the civil rights of all South Asians in the United States, asserts that there are at least 450,000 undocumented people from India alone. The Trump administration in 2017 announced it would rescind the program but were blocked by federal courts in San Francisco, New York, and Washington, DC.
Last week, President Donald Trump made an offer to Democrats to extend DACA benefits three more years in exchange for funding of for his wall between the US and Mexico. The Democrats rejected the offer, with SAALT, despite its support for those affected, asserting that the “Trump Administration’s immigration ‘deal’ is no deal at all – it’s a sham.
According to a SAALT press note, “The administration is claiming to reinstate two programs – DACA and Temporary Protected Status (TPS) – that the administration itself made a decision to eviscerate last year. These so-called protections to TPS and DACA holders are half-baked at best and do little to actually protect communities.
“The ‘deal’ legislation that the Senate will likely introduce this week excludes entire communities. Anyone with TPS status from Nepal, Guinea, Sierra Leone, Sudan, South Sudan, Yemen, Somalia and Syria would not be protected. The bill only covers a fraction of all DREAMers and does not provide permanent protection from deportation. Most alarmingly, it includes a $5.7 billion dollar border wall and more bloated increases to detention beds and border patrol agents.
“We hope that joint legislation from Congress protecting both DACA recipients and TPS holders by providing them a path to permanent residency and citizenship will be passed,” Sridaran told indica. “Clean legislation like this that includes no border wall or increase in enforcement is the only permanent solution to end the court battles and provide relief.”
Suman Raghunathan, SAALT’s executive director, announced in a press note, “This ‘deal’ offers no concessions, no solutions, and will further undermine the rule of law. It will intensify militarization on the border and expand detention while continuing to hurt refugees and asylum seekers, DACA recipients, and TPS holders.”