News — 29 September 2017

Changes made to DACA will affect 800,000

Julia Coty

@JULIACOTY

The immigration policy known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, had a pretty short lifespan. It was created for minors who entered the country illegally at a young age. Originating from an executive decision by former President Barack Obama, DACA was able to help nearly 800,000 individuals in the country attend college within five years. It has now been cancelled due to current President Donald Trump’s administration’s “America First” agenda, as of Sept. 5, 2017.

However, as Trump stands by his “America First” agenda, he called unto Congress to resolve this issue. “We must also have heart and compassion for unemployed, struggling and forgotten Americans,” said current Trump in regards to prioritizing American citizens instead of immigrants.

On June 15, 2012, DACA’s guidelines and requirements were announced by the Secretary of Homeland Security. DACA’s immigration policy was aimed towards particular people who met its standards. Instead of being removed from the United States, they would be allowed to stay under the strict rules.

These individuals could have requested DACA if they met these guidelines, stated on the U.S Citizenship and Immigration Services web page, which included:

 

  • You came to the United States before reaching your 16th
  • You have continuously resided in the United States since June 15, 2007 to the present time.
  • You were under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012
  • You never had a lawful immigration status on or before June 15, 2012, or any lawful immigration status or parole that you obtained had expired as of June 15, 2012.
  • You are currently in school, have graduated or obtained your certificate of completion from high school, have obtained your General Education development certification or you are an honorably discharged veteran of the Coast Guard of Armed Forces of the United States.
  • You have not been convicted of a felony, significant misdemeanor, or three or more misdemeanors and do not otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety.
  • You were physically present in the United States on June 12, 2012, and at the time of making your request for consideration of deferred action with USCIC.

Those who met these guidelines could apply for deferred action of deportation for a period of two years, and later apply to be considered for renewal. DACA recipients are also eligible for work permits.

However, after Trump’s statement rescinding DACA and its policies, the U.S Citizenship and Immigration Services web page now includes bold red statements which declare that:

 

  • We are no longer accepting initial requests for DACA, but we will adjudicate initial requests for DACA accepted by Sept. 5, 2017.
  • We will no longer approve advance parole requests associated with DACA.
  • We are only adjudicating DACA renewal requests received by Oct. 5, 2017, from current beneficiaries whose benefits will expire between Sept. 5, 2017 and March 5, 2018.
  • Read the 2017 DACA announcement.

The 2017 DACA announcement states that the Department of Homeland Security has begun to phase out this program.

A memorandum posted on the DHS site by Elaine C. Duke, Acting Secretary, on Sept. 5, 2017, states that a limited window of six months will determine the validity and solutions of DACA recipients. This document also states that it “will not terminate the grants of previously issued deferred action or revoke Employment Authorization Documents solely based on the directives in this memorandum for the remaining duration of their validity periods.”

The Trump administration also made a plan available for DACA recipients to renew their permits if their status were to expire in the next six months.

In response to these changes, California recently announced $30 million in state funds to help DACA recipients with legal services and financial aid.

Trump’s administrative decision to cancel this immigration policy has caused discomfort and anger among many aside from DACA recipients. Protests and reforms led by students and others who support DACA have occurred nationwide.

The DREAM Act, or Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act, is an American legislative act proposing conditional residency and perhaps permanent residency, with further requirements met, through a certain process similar to the application of DACA.

Countless colleges are offering workshops and aid to support their DACA students in educating them of their rights, protection and the DREAM Act.

Las Positas has a task force called UndocuAlly, aimed to work with AB 540, DACA and undocumented students to reduce the amount of issues and conflicts they face. This group also wants to create a “campus-wide ‘UndocuAlly Action Plan.’” Their first meeting was on September 13th, 2017 and they will continue to work as to provide help and resources for students.

By creating a support system, students feel confident that they can achieve their goals. Their plan will also include resources that will benefit students and their ambitions. This task force is comprised of members from counseling, student services, financial aid and many more departments, all working to help undocumented students.

Puente Club, an LPC club, in addition to the Puente program, also stands with UndocuAlly and their efforts. Puente club embraces and supports all students by means of resources, counseling and more. Luis Sanchez, vice president of Puente Club, said, “Their status shouldn’t dictate whether or not they should pursue an education.”

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