The most extreme members of the Republican party have continuously attacked the DACA program from every angle possible and the news is resonating with the organizations that champion the causes of immigrants in America.
DACA, or the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, is a program that allows for youthful immigrants who though undocumented, meet a certain set of criteria, protection from being deported to their countries of birth. Under DACA, immigrants are also allowed to receive social security numbers and have the right to work in the United States. This right to work is renewable on a two-year basis.
Ken Paxton, the Attorney General for the state of Texas, has requested by letter for president Donald Trump to rescind the program. Paxton went as far as to give the president a deadline and threatened legal action if his deadline passes without action.
What Paxton is asking for is not a sudden termination of the rights of those already afforded DACA protection, but instead a phasing out of sorts of the project. During this phase-out period, no new application would be considered and no renewals would be granted.
Paxton was able to gain the support of nine other attorney generals and one governor, all representing Republican states, who added their signatures to the letter that was addressed directly to President Trump.
John Kelly, Secretary of Homeland Security, met with members of the Hispanic Caucus and gave them the unfortunate news that the DACA program was indeed in jeopardy. Kelly pointed to the legal cases that are being used as precedents in the fight to end DACA as the main cause for concern.
The DACA program was started by the Obama administration five years ago and the resulting benefits to the United States are without question. A more than respectable 95% of immigrants covered by the DACA program either employed, working toward educational goals, or doing both. Millions of dollars are contributed by these immigrants to colleges and universities in the country as well as paying their fair share in taxes to the government. And the many economic gains experienced by DACA beneficiaries are being used for advanced education, the purchase of property and vehicles, and to provide start-up funding for independent businesses.
The fear that these recent developments have caused in the immigrant community are well warranted. Advocates for these immigrants must mobilize and fight with the same effort that has shown in the past to protect the immigrant population that is covered by the DACA program.
One group that is committed to organizing for the fight ahead is the Frontera Fund that was started by journalist Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey to provide support in the fight for the rights of immigrants in the state of Arizona.
The two men were arrested for performing their duties as journalists and reporting on the actions of former Sheriff of Maricopa County Joe Arpaio. The more than $3 million dollars the men were given as the result of a civil suit was used to begin the Frontera Fund.
The Frontera Fund will continue to provide guidance to assist in the fight to not only protect the DACA program but to also push for a permanent solution of the matter.