Top 5 Reasons Why the Dream Act Can’t Wait Until 2018
United We Dream, UndocuBlack Network, and National Immigration Law Center
As the end of the year approaches, more and more people are demanding that the bipartisan Dream Act be passed now. Some wonder why a resolution to this issue can’t wait until March 2018 or later. Here are the top five reasons why a DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) fix cannot wait until 2018 and why we need the Dream Act now.
The DACA program has ended. The Trump administration stated that Congress has until March 2018 to create a solution for immigrant youth, and that date has been referred to as the end date or deadline of the DACA program. The reality is that this deadline is false and DACA has already ended. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services is not accepting any DACA applications, either first-time ones or renewals.
People have lost and are losing their DACA protection every day. In fact, over 11,000 young immigrants have seen their DACA expire since September 5, and every day 122 more individuals lose their DACA. More than 22,000 individuals will lose their lawful presence before March 5. This means that thousands of immigrant youth are losing their ability to live without fear of being detained or deported by immigration authorities. Losing DACA may also mean losing employment and a regular driver’s license, and it may lead to other collateral consequences affecting not just their lives, but the lives of their families too.
Current and former DACA recipients are at immediate risk of being targeted by immigration officers. People who would be eligible for relief under the Dream Act are currently susceptible to being questioned, detained, and deported by immigration officers. In fact, several individuals in states like California, Kentucky, Mississippi, Texas, and Washington who would be eligible for Dream Act relief have been detained or even deported.
No matter how kind-hearted, skillful, and integrated into their community the person is, their lack of lawful status will be enough to place them in deportation proceedings. Furthermore, the fact that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) already has information about DACA recipients and their families, including home addresses, makes them even more vulnerable.
There has never been as much attention to and bipartisan support for this issue. Immigrant youth hail from multiple ethnic backgrounds and communities, making this an immediate, highly relevant issue for our society. The general public supports a DACA fix. Business, industry, labor, faith groups, conservatives, and progressives all support a permanent solution for immigrant youth.
The end-of-year must-pass spending bills provide an opportunity to fix this problem. The Dream Act must be attached to any must-pass spending bill up for consideration. There are no guarantees that another opportunity will be available in the future. We cannot rely on empty promises about this issue being dealt with at a later time. A vote on a spending bill without the Dream Act is a vote to deport hundreds of thousands of immigrant youth.