Congress had until March 5, 2018 to pass a solution to permanently shield immigrant youth from deportation.
It’s inaction has left about 7,000 New Mexican youth in uncertainty.
In 2012, President Obama created the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program that granted protection from deportation and work permits to around 700,000 young people in the U.S. President Trump began to phase out the program this past September. The government immediately stopped accepting new DACA applications and only allowed people whose work permits were set to expire before March 5, 2018 to renew their 2-year work permits. Starting March 5th, hundreds of work permits were set to expire each day.
Vianey Veleta-Arambula, NMILC’s Business Manager and DACA-recipient, is one of those impacted.
“I have been able to do so much for my family and myself ever since DACA was created by Obama back in 2012. I was able to get a job that allowed me to pay my college tuition, help my parents with their home, and so much more. Now, if I ever lose DACA, I will lose my job, my ability to support my family, and I probably won’t be able to fulfill my dream of going back to graduate school for my MBA and someday becoming a business owner.”
The future of DACA currently lies with the courts. In January, a
California judge issued a nationwide injunction ruling that the Trump Administration likely based its decision to rescind DACA on flawed legal grounds. The injunction required that the federal government continue accepting DACA renewal applications. Instead of waiting for the case to be heard first by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, the Trump Administration made the unusual request of asking the Supreme Court to hear the case right away. On February 26th, the Supreme Court rejected this request, meaning the case will move through the normal appeals process and that, at least in the meantime, the federal government will continue accepting DACA renewal requests.
However, uncertainty remains, Vianey explains, “Even though the Supreme Court refused to make an immediate decision to allow the Trump Administration to shut down DACA it is impossible not to feel afraid because we are still in limbo. I know many DACA recipients and their families are afraid; it is unfair that the Trump Administration wants to put an end to DACA because our future and our lives are at stake. That is why we need to push for something more powerful and permanent than DACA: fair immigration reform.”
For more information about the recent Supreme Court decision and the uncertainty created by the Trump Administration and Congress, check out NMILC Attorney Adriel Orozco’s recent appearance on New Mexico in Focus.
NMILC continues to process DACA renewals. If you or anyone you know has DACA and wants to renew their application, NMILC has free workshops every Wednesday from 1-5:00 pm at 714 4th St. SWin Albuquerque. NMILC has partnered with the NM Dream Team to provide scholarships for the $495 application fee. For more information, please call our office at (505) 247-1023.