The Trump administration banning new Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) applications confirms the worst fears of DACA recipients and advocates.
DACA, implemented after an executive order by President Obama in 2012, allows “prosecutorial discretion with respect to individuals who came to the United States as children.”
According to a report by South Asian-American civil rights group SAALT, there are approximately 2,550 active Indian DACA recipients — only 13 percent of the 20,000 DACA-eligible Indians who have applied for and received the status.
DACA recipient Harjinder Sandhu, who came to the US at age 4 with his parents via the southern border, learned about his DACA status when enrolling at college.
“Trump will not stop trying to harm me and my family,” Sandhu, who has been in the US for more than 20 years, told indica News in an email.
Another DACA recipient, Surjit Singh, who came to the US at age 12 with his father via the southern border, told indica News: “We took a chance by coming out of the shadows and coming out through the DACA program. The Supreme Court has allowed us room to breathe, but we know we’re not out of the woods yet.”
Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Chad F. Wolf announced Tuesday July 28 that the administration will not accept new DACA applications and DACA renewals would be approved for just one year, instead of two.
Many DACA recipients and advocates knew June 16 itself that the Trump administration would take some action after the US Supreme Court did not favor the President’s plan to end DACA. Deep Singh of the Jakara Movement, which helps undocumented students, had then told indica News as much.
Wolf contended that the US Supreme Court issued a decision that did not question the authority of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to rescind the DACA policy, but determined that the 2017 and 2018 memoranda had not complied with certain requirements for doing so. Accordingly, the court concluded that the rescission must be vacated and remanded to DHS so that it “may consider the problem anew.”
Wolf said: “As the department continues looking at the policy and considers future action, the fact remains that Congress should act on this matter. There are important policy reasons that may warrant the full rescission of the DACA policy.”
Chicago-based immigration lawyer Tejas Shah told indica News that it was time for Congress to act.
Wolf’s announcement confirms that the President intends to eliminate the DACA program without providing a viable solution to hundreds of thousands of youth who lack immigration status for no fault of their own, Shah said.
The DHS’s announcement that it will not accept initial applications will have a particularly severe impact on South Asians as data indicate that many DACA-eligible South Asians have never applied.
“The announcement will limit approvals to a one year period and it is critical that DACA eligible individuals timely file their renewal requests to avoid interruptions in work authorization,” Shah said.
Washington, DC-based attorney Rajdeep Jolly said that the Trump administration’s DACA policy hurts America’s economy.
“Instead of punishing Dreamers for circumstances out of their control, the administration should allow them to come out of the shadows and contribute to society as citizens of the United States,” Jolly told indica News.