Extreme right wing Republicans have been launching numerous attacks on the DACA program which has caused alarm among young immigrants to the United States. DACA, which stands for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, is a federal program that protects people who were brought to the United States illegally as children. As long as they meet certain criteria that are allowed to stay in America and will not be deported. They must be either attending school or have a job. If they meet the requirements they also get a social security number and have their status renewed every two years. Many states also allow DACA recipients the privilege of obtaining a drivers license and paying in-station tuition fees at colleges and universities.
The program is now in danger. Ken Paxton, the Attorney General of Texas, sent a letter to the White House asking it to rescind the DACA program. The letter also threatened legal action if this was not done. They want there to be what is called a “phasing off” of the program which means it will gradually end. Once it is ended no new applicants will be allowed to enter the program and when existing DACA recipients periods end they won’t be eligible for renewal. Nine other state attorney generals and a Republican governor also signed the letter.
The Hispanic Caucus recently met with John Kelly, the Secretary of Homeland Security, in regards to the status of the DACA program. In this closed-door meeting, Kelly said that 800,000 people were being helped by the DACA program currently. He continued on to state that there were many legal challenges against the program. This was alarming to the Hispanic Caucus members and DACA recipients.
Many people have been helped by DACA since it was established. It’s also helped many others have the DACA beneficiaries work, support businesses, and pay taxes. The DACA program, which is in its fifth year, has been very successful in the mission that was set out for it. It’s ultimately a humanitarian issue as many DACA recipients only know America and know very little about where they were originally from. Many can’t even speak the language of their native country.
One organization that seeks to help DACA recipients and others in the Hispanic community is the Frontera Fund. This fund was started by two journalists, Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin, who themselves had their rights violated by Maricopa County and the infamous former sheriff Joe Arpaio. They used the money they received in the eventual settlement in order to protect the rights of the disadvantaged including Hispanics and immigrants. They provide money to a variety of other organizations that support the rights of Hispanics and DACA recipients who now potentially face deportation.