DACA repeal

Ethan Singleton, Hook Editor

Recently, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced on behalf of Donald Trump, that he was rescinding the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Act, known as DACA. Hundreds of thousands of undocumented young people now face deportation. Many more who would have applied for DACA will be unable to within the next year

The program gives renewable two-year permits to undocumented immigrants who are 30 years old or younger and who arrived in the United States before June 15, 2007, when they were younger than age 16. These people are now at risk of deportation on a mass scale.

The fear is felt in Marin County’s immigrant community, as Drake’s AVID teacher LoRayne Ortega knows firsthand. Ortega recalls, “I was on a conference call on Wednesday led by activists from United We Dream, an organization run by immigrants fighting for their own rights. It was so sad because many people were crying as they were asking their questions related to what rights they still have right now.” Ortega said.

DACA does not provide a path to citizenship, but it does provide for a work permit, a driver’s license, and safety from deportation. According to the LA Times on Sept. 6, nearly 800,000 people are currently dependent on DACA; 78 percent  of the total 1.1 million people eligible for DACA in 2014.

According to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, around 50 percent of the 222,795 California DACA recipients of the past five years were 19 or younger. California has more DACA recipients than any other State, and CNBC has reported that the removal of these people from the state’s workforce is expected to cost $11.6 billion per year in Gross Domestic Product.

DACA recipients whose status expires by March 5, 2018 can apply for a new, two year permit, but that will be the final one. Unless Congress passes new legislation, all dreamers will be eligible for deportation by 2020.

According to Lucia Martel Dow, Director of Immigration and Legal Services for Canal Community Alliance, DACA recipients are often misrepresented, including by our. Attorney General.

“Jeff Sessions says that DACA recipients are stealing jobs, but you must meet specific eligibility criteria to be able to apply for a DACA work permit.  If you have been informed on DACA you will know that people who have benefited from this program contribute economically to our workforce, and make valuable contributions to our education system and as family members.” Martel-Dow Said.

Trump has expressed general support for dreamers, but has given contradictory statements on whether he will protect any of them from deportation. He has met with democrats to discuss a possible new deal, but details are uncertain, and changing daily.

Marin County Superintendent of Schools Mary Jane Burke is strongly opposed to the rescinding of DACA and the impact it will have in her school district.

”I don’t know the specific number because we don’t know all the students who are involved, but we know that in Marin County it is somewhere between 1,500 and 2,000 (DACA beneficiaries) total. However, what I do know is that this is critical, it’s a critical time for all of us to join together to make the dream DACA provides a dream that comes true for everyone in Marin County.”