DACA: Living in Limbo
by Anthony Spitery
In 2012, the Obama Administration created the DACA program, known as the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. The program allows young people who came into the U.S. under the age of 16 before June 2007 to be eligible to work legally in the country.
In return, these young immigrants were granted protection from deportation, but not a path to citizenship. Many saw this program as a logical temporary fix until immigration reform can be pushed through Congress.
On September 5, 2017, U.S. former Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced that the government was rescinding the DACA program. Since then, multiple lawsuits have challenged the Trump administration’s decision. For the next year, district courts would tackle the issue.
Despite numerous district court proceedings against DACA’s termination, the government’s U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services agency (USCIS) declared that as of February 14, 2018, it would no longer accept requests from individuals who have never before been granted deferred action under DACA. New applicants could not apply, but current members of DACA could still apply for renewal.
On November 8, 2018 the Ninth Circuit Court of appeals issued a decision affirming the lawfulness of the preliminary injunction. In their decision, the court reasoned that the plaintiffs in the case were likely to prevail on their claim that the Trump administration’s termination of DACA was “arbitrary and capricious” and therefore unlawful.
Over 800,000 individuals are current recipients of DACA, and nearly 11.3 million young adults have their future halted. There is an imperative need to establish humanitarian goals to help these migrants while the future of our immigration system still remains unclear.
Immigration attorney Audrey Allen works on individual and family immigration cases. Her practice in Conshohocken, Pa., provides guidance to her clients that deal with very complex issues, from keeping families together, fighting for individuals rights to citizenship, and most importantly, helping young people who have recently discovered their status is undocumented. She believes that it is not fair to punish these young individuals who have found themselves in circumstances through no fault of their own. To Allen, they are only seeking to honor their parents’ sacrifices and build a better life for themselves.