Following the recent news of the federal government’s winding down of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), the Lacey and Larkin Frontera Fund has renewed its commitment to providing resources and information for immigrants living in the United States. The Frontera Fund advocates the passage of DREAM Act legislation.
The full implications of the changes to the U.S. federal government’s stance on DACA are still unclear. It is yet unknown whether the young adults who arrived in the U.S. as children stand to lose their federal authorization to work and attend school in the U.S.
The Undocumented Student Program at the University of California-Berkeley recommends that those who have a recent criminal history do not go forward with attempting to renew their DACA applications, since it is still unknown what is being done with the information collected from these forms. This includes certain misdemeanor offenses as well as felonies, including driving under the influence. It cannot be confirmed that the information collected from DACA renewal forms will be used to target individuals for removal, but this possibility cannot be excluded either. Those who’ve had any recent contact with law enforcement are advised to seek the help of an attorney.
DACA is a program designed to aid those immigrants who arrived in the U.S. before they were 16 years of age. Those who qualify for the program must also be studying toward, or have already earned, a high school diploma or the equivalent, or must be members of the Coast Guard or military, including those who have been honorably discharged from the Coast Guard or military. DACA is intended to grant these individuals reprieve from being removed, or deported, from the U.S. It is thought to apply to around 800,000 young people.
An estimated 95 percent of individuals protected by the DACA program are either studying at colleges, universities, and trade schools, are employed full-time, or both. These individuals contribute to the U.S. economy in the forms of taxes, millions of dollars paid toward college tuition, businesses they start, and the homes, cars, and other goods they purchase.
It is the position of the Frontera Fund that even though the prospect of deportations loom, now is not the time to panic. Now is the time to lobby the legislature for a humane, sensible policy that will benefit the U.S. economy as well as those individuals who arrived in the U.S. as children without official documentation.