Protesters take over the streets during a Los Angeles March for Immigrant Rights earlier this year. (Photo by Molly Adams via flickr)
The Trump administration’s decision to rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program has crushed the lives and dreams of nearly 800,000 DACA recipients, and has led to a future of insecurities.
However, DACA recipients alongside national organizations are taking a stand to defend the program, which since 2012 has provided deportation protection and work authorization for undocumented immigrants brought to the U. S. as children. Since the announcement made by the Trump administration, powerful rallies have taken place all over the nation, including here in Long Beach, to protest and show the bipartisan discontent with Trump’s decision.
Getting rid of DACA can also mean a cost to the economy of over $200 billion, according to the Cato Institute. However, not everything seems lost as President Trump puts the pressure on Congress to find a solution for DACA recipients. One of those solutions is to pass the DREAM ACT that will help lead Dreamers to the pathway of permanent citizenship. The time is now ticking for Congress as they will have until March 2018 before the DACA program’s end to resolve the future of the Dreamers.
Here are some of the latest updates, and information tips that you need to know about DACA:
- You have very little time left to renew your benefits
If you have DACA benefits that expire before March 5, 2017, you are eligible to renew your application as long as you file before the October 5, 2017 deadline. For those who don’t qualify under this last criteria, your benefits will be valid until the date of expiration. For those who are considering applying for the first time, DACA applications are no longer being accepted — don’t do it.
- Advance Parole has been revoked
DACA recipients can not apply anymore for Advance Parole, according to the National Immigration Law Center, which previously allowed recipients to travel outside of the country for educational or humanitarian purposes. If there’s a case pending it will be closed and a refund provided. If you were approved for travel before Sept. 5, however, your travel request will still be honored.
- Help is available
Organizations such as the Long Beach Immigration Rights Coalition, reached at 562-204-6333, have been helping renew applications. You can find more renewal assistance here, as well: www.labor.ucla.edu/daca-renewal-workshops
There was a lot of financial help emerging for Dreamers. For those wanting to renew DACA and pay the mandatory $495 fee, a major scholarship site was www.lc4daca.org but that scholarship deadline passed in late September. However, on September 12, Gov. Jerry Brown and legislative leaders also announced that they will assist DACA recipients with $30 million according to the Long Beach Post. Some of that money will be distributed to help the Dreamers pay for the community college or university they are attending.
- A ‘Conservative DACA’ bill was introduced
Republican senators have proposed a new bill known as the SUCCEED Act, which potentially offers a 15-year path to citizenship for the Dreamers. Some of the requirements would require one to reside in the U.S. since June 15, 2012, and have come into the country before the age of 16. Under the bill, the applicant must also pass three separate rounds of security and background checks over the 15 years to become a citizen, and undocumented parents of beneficiaries would not be able to petition to stay based on their children’s new legal status.
The hours left to renew an application becomes critical and organizations like the Long Beach Immigrant Rights Coalition, UCLA Labor Center, and CHIRLA are responding with supportive information for what DACA recipients can do if they need help with financial support or a simple question. Thousands of DACA recipients will have to keep living with the sense of insecurity for the next six months until Congress gives their final answer.