What You Need to Know About DACA

Sep 4, 2017 at 12:00am ET By Joanna Hughes

President Trump is preparing to announce his decision on whether to continue or end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program tomorrow, according to a White House announcement. Wondering what all the fuss is about? Here’s a closer look at the program, along with why many academics are in support of the program.

About DACA

Created in 2012 as an executive action by Obama after multiple failed attempts to pass a similar law in Congress, DACA grants stays for undocumented immigrants who entered the US prior to their 16th birthdays (and before 2007), attended school and/or joined the military, and have no serious crimes on their record.

This two-year period of protection from deportation and work permit eligibility is renewable, with some enrollees currently on their third terms. Should the program end, many of its beneficiaries -- known as “DREAMers” -- will lose their protected status.

The DACA Debate

Led by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, DACA opponents believe the program is an abuse of executive power, and have threatened to sue if the program isn’t terminated by tomorrow, September 5. Meanwhile, DACA supporters, including more than 1,850 leaders from across the US, are urging the Trump administration to continue the program.

Higher education administrators have been particularly vocal in the fight to maintain DACA, with personal letters of support penned by numerous university presidents.

Meanwhile, a 2016 pro-DACA statement signed by 640 university presidents urges, “To our country’s leaders we say that DACA should be upheld, continued, and expanded. We are prepared to meet with you to present our case. This is both a moral imperative and a national necessity. America needs talent – and these students, who have been raised and educated in the United States, are already part of our national community. They represent what is best about America, and as scholars and leaders they are essential to the future.”

An Imminent Announcement

During his presidential run, President Trump vowed to end the program. In addressing reporters on Friday about the issue, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said of the timeline, “We are in the process of finalizing that decision and those details...The president's priorities of immigration are to create a system that encourages legal immigration and benefits our economy and American workers. The president has been very clear he loves people. He wants to make sure that this decision is done correctly.”

Read more about studying in the United States.

 

Joanna worked in higher education administration for many years at a leading research institution before becoming a full-time freelance writer. She lives in the beautiful White Mountains region of New Hampshire with her family.

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