DACA at five and other immigration news – June 16, 2017

DACA – Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals – turned five years old on June 15. What is DACA?

“Deferred action is a use of prosecutorial discretion, not a grant of lawful status.. Deferred action means a promise that, even though the government could prosecute and deport a DREAMer, it would not do so — at least for a specific period of time, for those who went through the application and screening process and paid hundreds of dollars in fees.

“On June 15, 2012, the Department of Homeland Security announced the rules for DACA — undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. before the age of 16, had resided in the U.S. since June 2007 and met other requirements could request consideration of deferred action for a period of two years. In 2014, DHS announced rules for a two-year renewal, and in 2016, for another two-year renewal.”

In five years, President Barack Obama’s executive order has provided protection for nearly 800,000 young undocumented immigrants, who arrived in the United States as children and call this country home.

Want more numbers? Here’s the USCIS data. One number that stands out: less than 7 percent of DACA requests (initial and renewal) have been denied from 2012 through March 31, 2017. Under Trump, the percentage of denials rose dramatically to almost 15 percent from January-March 2017. As DACA turns five, what’s ahead for DREAMers? (Immigrant Law Center of Minnesota, 6/13/2017)

“To understand DACA, imagine growing up in Minneapolis, going to school, playing softball and soccer at the park, and dreaming of college one day. Then, when you are fifteen and eager for drivers’ ed classes, you discover that you are different. You don’t have a social security number. You find out your family’s big secret: you and your parents are undocumented. They brought you across the border when you were three years old. Because you are undocumented, you cannot get a drivers’ license. You cannot legally work. You cannot go to college. If the immigration police find you, you will be sent back to a country you do not know at all. And there is no way to fix this.

“For hundreds of thousands of young people who came to the United States as children, that was life before DACA. They called themselves DREAMers, as in the American Dream, the dream that they shared but that was legally out of reach.”

Analysis: DACA Boosts Young Immigrants’ Well-Being, Mental Health (NBC, 6/15/17)

“Specifically, DACA 1) renewed recipients’ hope and motivation for their futures; 2) gave recipients a greater sense of belonging as valued and contributing members of our country; and 3) lessened recipients’ fears of authorities and the constant threat of deportation.”

New Study of DACA Beneficiaries Shows Positive Economic and Educational Outcomes (Center for American Progress, 10/18/16) Okay – this study is no longer new, but it still offers a good snapshot of DACA outcomes.

“The data show that DACA increased recipients’ average hourly wages by 42 percent. Given that higher wages translate into higher tax revenue and economic growth, these findings reinforce the fact that DACA benefits all Americans. Moreover, a full 95 percent of survey respondents are currently employed or enrolled in school.”

And in other news:

Trump’s Special Back Door for Wealthy Immigrants (The Nation, 6/15/17)

“Trump’s “build the wall” immigration agenda isn’t as inflexible as it seems. That hardened border has one exclusive toll booth: It’s called the EB-5 visa, aka “greenbacks for green cards”—known among global investor circles as the EZ Pass to the American Dream.

Through the EB-5 program, the US Customs and Immigration Service (USCIS) offers about 10,000 spots annually for foreign investors to purchase at the “front of the queue,” if they promise to sink $500,000 to $1 million in a US-based “development” project…. But the controversial program, which has exploded since the financial crisis, has been tarnished by links to shady influence-peddling in the backrooms of Trump’s real-estate empire.”

Imagine yourself as a refugee. That’s what nudges Americans to take action on refugees’ behalf. (Washington Post, 6/15/17)

“In a new paper, we find that encouraging empathy — imagining oneself in the shoes of a refugee — prompts Americans to support bringing in refugees. By contrast, detailing the United States’ relative commitment to accept refugees, a commonly used approach, has no effect — and may even prompt a backlash among Republicans….

“When we analyzed the refugee profile ratings, we found that Americans clearly prefer a particular type of refugee. The highest-rated profiles described the refugee as Christian rather than Muslim, male rather than female, professional rather than a low-skilled worker, and a fluent English speaker rather than a non-English speaker. This consensus cuts across party lines. Although Democrats rated the refugees more highly on average than did Republicans, they also preferred high-skilled Christian men who speak fluent English.”

Cubans now face same deportation risk as other immigrants (AP via ABC News, 6/15/17)

“Tens of thousands of Cubans living in the U.S. are adapting to a harsh new reality: After enjoying decades of favored status dating back to the Cold War, many of them now face the same deportation risks as any other immigrants.”

N.Y. Immigration Courts Face 2-Year Delay After Judges Sent to the Border (NPR, 6/14/17)

“The Trump administration is dispatching immigration judges from around the country to courts that are closer to the southern border as part of its crackdown on illegal immigration. That decision is draining resources from New York City’s immigration court — the busiest in the nation, with a backlog of 80,000 cases.”

OPINION: Thanks 9th Circuit for affirming president must respect Congress’s immigration authority (The Hill, 6/15/17)

“Congress possesses very broad powers in setting immigration policy. Through the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), Congress has directed the Executive Branch to implement immigration policy.

“This week the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals determined that the president exceeded his authority by issuing an Executive Order (EO) that did not respect the very statutes Congress enacted.”

Keys police lack policies on immigration questioning of suspects (Miami Herald, 6/15/17) The Florida Highway Patrol also has no policy on immigration questioning.

“Nothing on paper limits Florida Keys police from questioning suspects — or anyone they meet along the way — about their immigration status or citizenship.

“Recent videos of a Monroe County Sheriff’s Office deputy asking two men, including one involved in a minor traffic crash, “Are you illegal?” stirred up the ire of civil rights activists who say the question goes too far in a nation built on freedom.”

US arrests nearly 200 Iraqi immigrants in massive deportation sweep (New York Post, 6/15/17)

“In the Detroit area, 114 Iraqi nationals were arrested over the weekend, and 85 throughout the rest of the country over the past several weeks, Gillian Christensen, a US Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokeswoman, said in a statement.

“The actions came as part of the Trump administration’s push to increase immigration enforcement and make countries that have resisted in the past take back nationals ordered deported from the United States.”

Iraqi Christians targeted for deportation face ‘death sentence’ in Iraq, lawyers say (The Guardian, 6/15/17) Najah Konja is 55 years old and has lived in the United States since 1977. Now he is facing deportation to Iraq.

“What is he going to do there?” Steve Konja, a US citizen, told the Guardian. “Basically, they are sentencing him to death.”

“Konja said his brother does not speak Arabic, and that the last member of their family to leave Iraq was kidnapped twice and held for ransom because of his relatives in the US. “The government of Iraq cannot protect and defend its own citizens – let alone a bunch of Christians coming from the US,” Konja said.

Immigration Not Enough to Halt Exodus From U.S. Cities (Bloomberg News, 6/14/17)

“Immigration to the U.S. has failed to make up for the number of residents leaving New York, Los Angeles and Chicago — the nation’s top three metropolitan areas….

“As for the broader economic implications, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia President Patrick Harker is among some U.S. central bank officials who have suggested labor shortages could be alleviated by fostering additional immigration.”


About Mary Turck

News Day, written by Mary Turck, analyzes, summarizes, links to, and comments on reports from news media around the world, with particular attention to immigration, education, and journalism. Fragments, also written by Mary Turck, has fiction, poetry and some creative non-fiction. Mary Turck edited TC Daily Planet, www.tcdailyplanet.net, from 2007-2014, and edited the award-winning Connection to the Americas and AMERICAS.ORG, in its pre-2008 version. She is also a recovering attorney and the author of many books for young people (and a few for adults), mostly focusing on historical and social issues.
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