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Two Months After Trump Withdrew DACA, This Is Where the Program Stands

It’s been exactly two months since Trump rescinded the DACA program, which granted work permits  to hundreds of thousands of immigrants. Upon rescinding the program, Trump suggested it was up to Congress to come up with a legislative solution to DACA before March 5, 2018 (the date when the first work permits are set to expire and hundreds of people become eligible for deportation). Here’s where the program stands today and how you can join the fight to defend DACA.

There are currently two DACA-related bills up for consideration in Congress: the Republican SUCCEED Act and the bipartisan DREAM Act.

Co-authored by three Republican legislators, the SUCCEED Act (Solution for Undocumented Children through Careers Employment Education and Defending Our Nation Act) would grant undocumented immigrants a 15-year pathway to citizenship. To be eligible for adjustment of status under the SUCCEED Act, immigrants must have arrived to the US before age 16 and before June 15, 2012 and must pass a criminal background check, pay off tax liabilities, submit biometric data to DHS, and sign a waiver that would revoke benefits if they violate status terms. Some have likened the latter requirement to forcing people to sign their own voluntary deportation orders. The bill would also prevent beneficiaries from sponsoring their family members for legalization. Greisa Martínez of United We Dream criticized the bill, claiming, “Republican Senators have created a new, partisan bill which leaves out many immigrant youth, requires us to sign away our day in court, and walk on eggshells for 15 years.”

Alternatively, Senators Lindsey Graham and Dick Durbin re-introduced the DREAM Act, which would grant all current DACA recipients a conditional green card and create a system for other immigrants brought to the U.S. as children to obtain the same. Immigrants would qualify for protection under the DREAM Act if they were brought to the U.S. before the age of 18 and lived continuously in the US for four years prior to the bill’s passage, passed a background check, have no serious criminal record, and earned a high school diploma or equivalent or are enrolled in school.

Last week, The Hill reported that during a closed-door White House meeting, Trump and Republican senators agreed that they would not include a DACA solution as part of an end-of-the-year spending bill. Senators Bernie Sanders, Kamala Harris, Cory Booker, and Elizabeth Warren have said they will not vote for a year-end budget deal unless it offers a legislative fix to DACA. The 2017 Congressional session ends on December 15th, meaning time to come to an agreement over DACA and to protect the lives and livelihoods of its beneficiaries is quickly running out.

In response to Congress’s inaction, several organizations, advocacy groups, and activists are taking matters into their own hands.

DACA may be gone, but the movement to protect immigrants, our families, and communities is far from over. Across the country, immigrant youth are mobilizing in favor of a clean DREAM Act and a path to citizenship for the 11 million undocumented immigrants who call this country their home. In North Carolina, where I grew up after immigrating to the United States in 1998, immigrants formed the NC DREAM Coalition in response to DACA’s rescission. Since September 5th, they have travelled to D.C. to lobby for the DREAM Act, met with legislators and elected leaders to press for action, and shared their stories and raised awareness about what it means to be undocumented in America.

On November 9th, hundreds of immigrant youth, allies, business leaders, and people of faith are walking out of their schools and gathering in D.C. to resist Trump’s attacks on immigrants and to demand a clean Dream Act. You can get more information about joining the walkout here.

We’re taking the fight to the courts, too. Princeton and Microsoft filed suit against Trump, claiming that withdrawing DACA violates the Fifth Amendment’s guarantee of equal protection, as well as the Administrative Procedure Act. The lawsuit also petitions the government to protect the data that DACA beneficiaries submitted in their DACA applications. Democratic attorneys general from 15 states and the District of Columbia also filed suit, as did Make the Road New York, on behalf of its members.

These past two months have been disheartening and devastating for immigrant communities. But DACA’s rescission has only strengthened our resolve to fight for permanent and comprehensive immigration reform. We’re not going anywhere, Trump.

Header image via CNN

Durham, NC

Barbara is a PhD student at The University of North Carolina. She writes about immigration, migrant activism and organizing, & intersectional feminism.

Barbara is a PhD student at The University of North Carolina. She writes about immigration, migrant activism and organizing, & intersectional feminism.

Read more about Barbara

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