The current state of DACA

President Trump terminated the executive order by former President Obama for DACA, which stands for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. Although the order is no longer in effect, Trump has given Congress six months to either write a law making DACA legal, or terminating it all together.

An executive order is a directive issued by the president and does not go through congress.

Paul Sonenberg, supervising attorney for Community Refugee and Immigration Services (CRIS) in Columbus, explained what exactly DACA means.

“An executive order is issued by the president and carries the weight of law, however, it does not go through the regular process of bills and therefore can be changed or ended by the next president if he/she chooses,” John Carmichael, AP U.S. Government and Politics teacher said.

Executive orders can be terminated just as easily as they are put into action, because they never go through the legislative law making process.

“It was implemented by an executive order by [former] President Obama and recently terminated by President Trump. DACA allowed for some who entered the United States as youngsters and without inspection, to have limited lawful status in the United States if their applications were approved,” Sonenberg said.

In order to apply for DACA, certain requirements have to be met, including age, education and national security laws.

Illustration by Kathryn Campbell

“The rule is that (1) at time of filing for DACA, the individual had to be over the age of 15; (2) under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012; (3) came to the United States prior to the child’s 16th birthday; (4) had continuously resided in the United States since June 15, 2007 up to present; (5) entered the United States without inspection; (6) was, as of June 15, 2012 present in the United States without any lawful status; (7) is presently in school/graduated or had a GED and finally; (8) has not committed any crimes nor pose any threat to national security or public safety,” Sonenberg said.

Dreamers are people who came to the U.S. when they were very little, illegally with their parents. Because they were so young, they did not have the choice to come legally or

not at all, which raises the controversial topic of whether they should be deported or not. Trump did not terminate this executive order to deport dreamers, but rather is giving congress six months to make it a formal law or terminate it on their terms. “Basically, he said the ball is in your court. Fix this problem. If they don’t, he says he can start the deportation process in the summer and say it is the fault of Congress. However, two weeks ago he backed away from what he has been saying publicly for over a year and made a political promise to the Democrats to protect the dreamers and it will be interesting to see if he keeps his political promise,” Carmichael said.

“[He] gave a window of time for Congress to come up with a law that would legalize DACA. There is some talk of a bill presently in the Senate, brought by Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah, that would allow DACA to lead to more permanent status,” Sonenberg said. Congress has yet to discuss this topic and many people are attempting to speculate what they will do.

Carmichael believes congress will pass DACA as a law. “... if you look at polling numbers, Americans support protecting the dreamers by large percentages.”

DACA is strictly for dreamers and does not benefit family members of these people. In short, it is a limited legal status for these kids.

“DACA basically allowed for people to go to school beyond high school; obtain employment and a state ID. In sum, it gave people some of the very basics that we take for granted. However, DACA did not give individuals anything more than limited legal status. DACA does not lead to a Permanent Resident Card (Green Card) nor does it lead to becoming a United States citizen. As importantly, DACA would not help that individual’s family obtain any lawful status in the United States. There is a myth that a person who has DACA could help another family member such as a parent who is in the United States without papers become legal. That is untrue,” Sonenberg said.


Print Editions

Online Editions