What is DACA?  Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) | USCIS

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The DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) program has become popular since President Donald J. Trump announced his decision to terminate it. Most people did not know about the program prior to this. Interestingly, many people still don’t know what it stands for and how it works. My Visa Solutions has compiled this article to give you the basic information you need to know about the program.

What is DACA?                                                               

DACA is a program that was designed to protect immigrants who were brought into the U.S. as children from the threat of deportation. It was created by the Obama administration during his first term in office.

DACA essentially creates a conducive environment for DREAMers in the United States. It grants them access to work permits that are valid for two years and facilitates renewals. It also grants other privileges including enrolling in college, applying for driving licenses, and enjoying social amenities such as health insurance. It also requires that recipients pay income taxes if they get employment.

Who Qualifies for DACA?

As mentioned, DACA was designed for immigrants who entered the U.S. illegally as minors. The eligibility requirements include:

  • Age limits

The DACA program defines minors as people aged 16 years old and below. To this end, you must have been below 16 when immigrating to the U.S. as an illegal. Additionally, you must have been under 30 years old by the time that the program was created in June 2007.

  • Time of immigration

DACA was created in June 2007. The Obama administration stipulated that it was only available for those who have lived in the country since then.

Why the Termination?

One of the first actions of President Donald J. Trump after taking office was to terminate the DACA program. His decision was met with a lot of resistance from a majority of the population, and many people could not understand what would influence his decision.

Although Trump did not articulate his reasons, there is no doubt that DACA’s termination was linked to his tough stance on immigration as well as the promises he made to his right-wing base of supporters. Essentially, DREAMers are still illegal immigrants who had no choice when coming into the U.S. with their parents and guardians.

There is a lot to read into the President’s thinking when ending the program. And although it stirred a lot of anger from many people, it played a role in solidifying his popularity with his nationalist supporters.

What is the Future of DACA?

There are mixed signals about whether DACA will be reinstated as a new program or end altogether. After announcing its termination, the Trump administration gave Congress six months to come up with an alternative and considering that both Republicans and Democrats were opposed to the idea of terminating DACA, there is some optimism that a solution or alternative will be found soon.

That said, Congress is currently in one of its busiest periods, and there are bigger problems that require lawmakers’ attention. What’s more, Trump has the final say on the program that they may come up with, so any alternative program may not offer the same privileges that DACA did. Some of the proposed replacements of DACA are DREAMers Act (Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act) and the RAISE Act.

What are the Implications of Terminating DACA?

The decision to terminate DACA may have been met with jubilation by nationalist hardliners, but its implications would be self-defeating for the U.S. both economically and socially. It may also not be surprising to witness a political fallout over the termination of DACA.

  • Economic Implications

There are over 800,000 recipients of DACA. Most of these recipients are (or have been) law-abiding citizens that have endeavored to live well lest they get deported. Most of them have been educated here, and they work in diverse industries – some are even innovative entrepreneurs. Considering these statistics, the economic implications of terminating DACA would be monumental.

Experts estimate that terminating DACA would put over 700,000 jobs in jeopardy – considering that unemployment levels are high as it is, this would be detrimental. Additionally, it would cost the U.S. economy over $280 billion in income taxes and other revenues generated by DACA recipients.

Over 400 U.S. CEOs came out criticizing the Trump administration for its decision to terminate DACA, saying that such a move would hurt their competitive edge globally. Additionally, several states including New York and Washington said that they would sue the federal government if it went through with its proposal.

  • Social Implications

Most DACA recipients were just kids when they came to the U.S. Most of them have few memories of their countries of origin, and many of them have settled and raised families in the country. The termination of DACA hence threatens to destroy social ties of most of these recipients and tear apart thousands of families.

Terminating DACA will also have a major impact on many communities – as mentioned, there are over 800,000 DACA recipients, and their absence would certainly be felt especially in tight-knit communities.