The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA) program, established by executive order of President Obama, has provided more than 750,000 young people temporary relief from deportation. Many of these young people, also called Dreamers, remember no home other than the United States. This is where they grew up, where they go to school or work, where the oldest among them are beginning to raise their own children.
President Trump attacked the program during his campaign, and said he would abolish it immediately. Then he said he had sympathy for the young people brought here as children and implied that he would not deport them. On January 25, a draft order repealing DACA was leaked. Then it disappeared. No one – and that probably includes Trump – know what he will actually do, or when.
Meanwhile, young people with DACA status live with uncertainty and tension. Three of today’s news articles highlight their stories.
Dreamers need not apply: city’s teacher shortage overlooks the undocumented (The Guardian, 4/5/17) Madai Zamora, a student teacher with DACA status, will graduate from college in North Carolina having completed her student teaching there.
“[R]egardless of what happens with Daca, Zamora won’t be able to teach in the city of Charlotte – or anywhere in North Carolina, her home for the past 10 years. Like the majority of states, North Carolina doesn’t grant teaching licences to undocumented people, including those with Daca.
“What makes the situation even more desperate is that Charlotte actually has a teacher shortage. The school district superintendent, Ann Clark, has issued personal calls for teachers, going so far as to ask people at community meetings to “to email, text or call [the teachers you know] and invite them to teach in Charlotte”.
A citizen of nowhere living in North Carolina (WCNC, 4/2/17) WCNC explores the uncertainty facing young people with DACA status through the story of Carolina Siliceo Perez, who came to the United States at the age of two.
“The day Carolina Siliceo Perez – at the age of 15 – discovered she was as an undocumented immigrant living in the United States, she locked herself in her bedroom, threw herself on the bed and sobbed.
“Later, before the long road to finishing high school, earning a college degree and finding steady work, she would scream in rage at her mother for hiding her gamble to stay in the U.S. rather than return to Mexico after her migrant visa expired.
“Despite those successes and through no fault of her own, Siliceo Perez, now 24, essentially lives as a citizen of nowhere even though she has built a life for herself in Asheville.”
‘Undocumented students’ in US face an anxious future (BBC, 4/5/17) With Trump’s election, after his campaign promises to abolish DACA, students are fearful.
“Marisa Herrera, executive director for community building and inclusion at the University of Washington in Seattle, says such concerns show how quickly undocumented students’ experience has changed.
“A year ago, these kids thought anything was possible, regardless of their immigration status, whether that was studying abroad or being a doctor or a lawyer,” she says.
“They really were unstoppable. Those possibilities are not out of the question for them now, but things have significantly changed,” she says. “Now, it’s complicated.”
Donald Trump and DACA: A Confusing History (Huffington Post, 3/3/17)
Other immigration stories:
Immigration agents shoot Chicago man during raid, reportedly acknowledge they targeted wrong person (New York Daily News, 3/28/17) ICE agents rushed into the home shortly before 6:30 a.m., and shot Felix Torres. They said later that he was holding a gun. His daughter, Carmen Torres, who lives in the home along with other family members, says her father doesn’t own a gun.
“[Carmen] Torres said at least eight relatives were home at the time of the raid, including her 5-month-old nephew. She also claimed none of her relatives are undocumented, adding that the family has lived in the house for “at least 30 years.”
Lawyer for man shot in Chicago ICE raid: family legal residents (Chicago Sun Times, 3/29/17)
In California, Landlords Threaten Immigrant Tenants with Deportations (CityLab, 4/5/17)
“Emboldened by President Donald Trump’s anti-immigration policies, landlords across California are threatening to report undocumented tenants to immigration authorities. Landlords looking to evict their tenants, raise their rents, or stifle their complaints about their living conditions are exploiting undocumented tenants’ fears about being deported, according to housing advocates and attorneys.”
New York to set aside $10M of state budget for immigration legal services in light of Trump’s policies (New York Daily News, 3/4/17)
“The story of New York is the story of immigrants and this funding builds upon this administration’s long-standing work to protect those seeking a better life as New Yorkers,” Cuomo said. “Through this first in the nation public-private partnership, we will fight to ensure all immigrants have access to their rights under the law and that New York continues to be a beacon of hope and opportunity for all.”
“Their story is pretty extraordinary” (Immigrant Legal Services of Minnesota, 4/4/17)
“On October 9, 2015, Dia Yang saw her husband, Yang Sea Thao, for the first time in 12 years. Dia Yang’s journey had been a long, arduous one. Her road to entering the United States from Thailand began in 2005, when her husband, a 49-year-old asylee, filed a petition for his family to come join him in the United States….
“Today, Dia Yang and Yang Sea Thao are together in Minnesota. Their nine children are still in Thailand. While most of them are now married and so are ineligible to come to the United States through the original family petition, Dia and Thao are still trying to bring their 14-year-old daughter to the United States.”
By the Numbers: The United States of Refugees (Smithsonian Magazine, 4/2017) “Since October 2001, more than 895,000 refugees have settled here, typically after being referred by the United Nations and vetted by the State Department in a process that takes at least 18 months.”
As Thousands Flee South Sudan, Ugandan Refugee Camp Becomes World’s Largest (NPR, 4/5/17)
“Bidi Bidi was opened in August 2016, and by the end of the year, about 260,000 refugees were living there. The camp got so full that Ugandan authorities started opening new camps.
“The U.N. refugee agency now says that Bidi Bidi hosts more than 270,000 refugees — making it the world’s largest refugee camp. “
Immigration arrests at Mexican border continue to plummet (AP/MPR, 4/4/17)
“Arrests of people caught trying to sneak into the United States across the Mexican border plummeted in March to the lowest monthly figure in more than 17 years, the head of the Department of Homeland Security reported.
“That’s a likely sign that fewer immigrants are trying to make the trek into the United States.”
“Christopher Lasch, a law professor at the University of Denver … says the new weekly reports from ICE naming sheriff’s departments that don’t honor detainers is shaming law enforcement for something the courts have settled.
“Basically, these detainer requests are requests for local sheriffs to violate the law,” Lasch says.
“Starting this month, ICE says it is using a new detainer form. The agency says, in addition to the detainer, it will also issue what’s called an administrative warrant. The problem with that, Lasch says, is the warrant is issued by ICE, not a judge — doing nothing, in his view, to address constitutional concerns.”
Bidding Closes For Building Trump’s Border Wall (NPR, 4/4/17)