DACA/DREAM Resources

DACA News and Basics

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Carmen Cornejo
Written by Carmen Cornejo
The DOJ Sides with DACA-DREAMers on the Driver’s License Issue

In a surprising declaration, the Trump administration said it is not providing help to Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich in the state’s prolonged fight against DREAMers and their access to driver’s licenses, siding with the previous Ninth Circuit Decision that allows DACA beneficiaries to drive.

But do not get your expectations up.

Karina Ruiz, President of the Arizona DREAM Act Coalition, the oldest immigrant youth-led organization in Arizona, applauds Trump’s Solicitor General Noel Francisco in his support of DREAMers’ access to driver’s licenses in Arizona.

“It is true what Mr. Francisco said, that Arizona is the only state in the nation that has battled DACA-DREAMers’ access to driver’s licenses for years,” Ruiz says. “I may add that this obsession to damage DACA beneficiaries is costly and unproductive. However, I sincerely question that the reason behind the support is the certainty the DACA program will end soon. I would not be so sure about it.”

Yes, Francisco said the program will end soon, and DACA beneficiaries’ driver’s licenses will expire as soon as their working permit (EAD) expires, so there is no need to fight anymore.

The opposition in Arizona to DREAMers’ access to driver’s licenses started the same day Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) started. Jan Brewer, in an incredibly hateful action, announced Arizona’s challenge to driver’s licenses access on June 15, 2012, just hours after President Obama announced the creation of the national program.

“I clearly remember that day, where we felt so happy for the creation of a process to protect us from deportation and an opportunity to work legally in our country, just to be disappointed by the actions of former Governor Brewer,” Ruiz says.

“Thanks to our supporters and advocates – among them ACLU, MALDEF, NILC – we have continued the fight, and the courts have consistently sided with us,” she adds. “Thanks to that support we are able to drive legally in Arizona.”

As we presented our reasons and arguments in court, it was evident for the judges [that] Arizona is an especially tough place for not being able to legally drive, since the state lacks reliable public transportation, the temperatures are extreme, especially in the summer, and many of us are parents of young children who are American citizens, and we need to drive them around for doctors’ appointments, school, and other activities,” Ruiz explains. “We are looking forward to the day the Supreme Court hears our case, since we feel confident the law is on our side.”

After the Collapse of the DACA Fix by Congress, What is Next?

Sadly but predictably, the Senate failed to gather support for any of the 4 legislative proposals which intended to fix the precarious situation immigrant youth find themselves after Trump ordered the phase-off of DACA, the program which protects these young people from deportation and allows them to legally work in this country.

Part of the blame is placed on a timid Congress which lacks the courage to stand up. A great part of the blames sits on Trump’s “my way or the highway” attitude, attaching extreme demands to the deal such as billions of dollars for the border wall, limits in legal immigration affecting family reunification, and the complete elimination of the visa lottery. He made sure members of Congress knew he was vetoing any legislation that would not abide by his demands.

Just as this congressional drama was taking place, the Trump-Miller-Session DOJ is seeking to bypass appellate court processes and is requesting the Supreme Court of the United States a hearing to make the case for the repeal of the DACA continuation, which was ordered by a court in California last month, and this week, by a court in New York.

On September the 5th 2017, Trump announced the phase-off of the program by March 5th, 2017, a decision that has been described “as arbitrary and capricious” by the courts.

The court injunction to the DACA phase-off is temporary.  The courts have also asserted Trump’s power to take away the program, but are objecting the reasoning behind the decision.

Now it will be up to the Supreme Court of the United States to hear an unprecedented request by Trump’s DOJ to agree to a court date and request a lifting of the injunction, vaulting the appellate courts.  The decision to hear or not the DOJ’s petition may come as early as next week.

What should DACA DREAMers do?

Renew. First and foremost, all individuals who may be up for renewal should do it. Every day they can enjoy the benefits of the DACA program is a good day.

Advance your education. DACA recipients should advance their education as much as possible and review their educational options in order to acquire abilities that may allow them to work fast for themselves, such as programming and creating apps.

Start a Business. There is nothing better than economic independence. DREAMers start a business at a higher rate than the general population. Use this DACA fix drama to motivate you to be independent.

Advocate. Participate in the action alerts issued by the DREAM Act organizations such United We DREAM, The Arizona DREAM Act Coalition, USEE (Undocumented Students for Education Equality-ASU), Aliento Arizona or others. Get into twitter and amplify your support for DACA-DREAMers.

Read our blogs.  We strive to bring you the latest analysis on the current immigration debate and our advocacy experience so you are informed on your options.

 Lawyers and Advocates Obtain Clarification: DACA Renewals are Reinstated, No New Applications

A New York court’s decision on DACA was amended last night, after causing confusion among lawyers and advocates.  In short, for the second time, a court has ruled that Trump’s DACA program phase-off should stop and the renewal process has been reinstated to all immigrant youth who had been beneficiaries in the past. The ruling left out new applicants.

U.S. District Judge Nicholas Garaufis ruled yesterday, February 13th,2018, that the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA) cannot end, siding with immigrant youth plaintiffs and a group of Attorney Generals of several states.

This ruling echoed the decision of another Federal Judge in San Francisco, California, just a month ago.

Meanwhile, the Supreme Court of the United States is considering to give a hearing to Trump-Session’s DOJ which seeks to eliminate the very successful program.

Judge Garaufis said the administration could eventually phase-off DACA but that the reasons it gave last September were too arbitrary.

The judge ordered USCIS to process DACA renewal applications on the same terms as had been in place before the president announced the elimination of the program. However, both rulings have left out new applicants.

Second Judge Blocks the DACA Phase-Off. He is not Mincing Words 

As many immigrant youths and their allies gather in Washington for a possible introduction of a bill that provides a path to legalization in the Senate, a second Federal Judge has decided to stop Trump- Sessions’ order to end DACA.   Judge Nicholas G. Garaufis of the US District Court for the Eastern District of New York ruled that DACA participants and states are likely to win the case against the order to terminate DACA since the order is arbitrary and capricious.

“Defendants  (the Trump Administration) indisputably can end the DACA program,” Judge Garaufis wrote in his ruling. “The question before the court is thus not whether defendants could end the DACA program, but whether they offered legally adequate reasons for doing so. Based on its review of the record before it, the court concludes that defendants have not done so.”
The order of Judge Garaufis gave include to process both initial requests for DACA status, as well as renewals, on the same terms as had been in place before the administration made its announcement last September.
Trump  Quickly Rejects Bipartisan Bill Aimed to Provide a Path to Legalization to DACA-DREAMers

That was quick. Just before as Senators John McCain and Chis Coons introduced a bill that would bring a solution for DACA-DREAMers’ perilous situation, Trump torpedos the initiative by stating that even a bi-partisan bill without funding for the border wall is a no-go.

Here is his tweet just this morning:

The McCain-Coons bill would not address other of Trump’s immigration pillars, such the pejorative called “chain migration” which in reality is family reunification, and the end of the visa lottery.

Meanwhile, Representatives from the House are writing a bill and keeping the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) informed on the contents. This bill it’s seen as a compromise that moderate Republicans are willing to support.

But in the highly politicized environment, any bipartisan bill will be facing great challenges.

Government Opened and Resumed Business Without Closing a Deal for DACA

After a weekend of recriminations and acrimony, lawmakers agreed to approve a continuing resolution (CR) and opened the government without addressing the DACA fix for undocumented youth.

There is no way to sugar-coating the feelings.  DACA-DREAMers were really hurt by what they see as the caving of their supporters to the White House and GOP anti-immigrant agenda. The agreed to a verbal commitment  to deal with a DREAM-Act type legislation by mid-February.

Just a few weeks from now, the whole drama of the weekend will tend to repeat.

Do not blame DREAMers for doubting now of the commitment made by the GOP to address their issue in February since the White House had promised before a “Bill of Love” but they found themselves being used as bargaining chips in exchange for funding for the border wall, and more immigration enforcement measures.

The only bright spot of the agreement reached yesterday in Congress for young people was the decision to fund CHIP (Children Health Insurance Program) for six years which will benefit children of low-income families. CHIP funding, which has been failed to be funded for 142 days, had been pitted against the DACA fix during the CR negotiations.

Meanwhile, the Supreme Court of the United States has agreed to CONSIDER the extraordinary step of a hearing on the DACA repeal by the Trump administration, with was challenged by a San Francisco Judge some weeks ago.

This is an extraordinary step since normally the decisions are taken to the Circuit Court of Appeals but the administration is trying to bypass the appeals circuits which is considered the most liberal in the nation.

Showdown Expected Today in Congress as Some Senators Will Try to Address DACA Fix in the Legislative Proposal

Last night (Thursday), the House of Representatives in the USA Congress passed a temporary spending bill that will keep the government open temporarily without a DACA fix, (a DREAM Act-type legislation), kicking the ball to the Senate court.  Only six Democrats voted for the bill and 11 Republicans voted against it.

Some government agencies will run out of money if both chambers of Congress cannot pass a funding plan by 11:59 PM today.

The approved House bill contains a six-year funding extension for Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) which has been played as a bargaining chip against Democrats along with a not included DREAM Act-type legislation in exchange for funding for the border wall and immigration enforcement measures.

CHIP funding accesses health services for low-income families’ children.

The CHIP funding had expired since September, last year, sending the states in budget chaos trying to find monies for the program.tell the GOP 2

The passage of the bill in the House has only shifted the battle. It is expected a showdown with the Senate since Democrats are threatening to block the House bill and possibly will be joined by several Republican Senators who already voice opposition to the House bill. The Senate will need 60 votes to pass a bill and the Republican majority only has 51 members. Additionally, a couple of Republicans are in the “no” side, among the Senator

Click here to see where the Senators stand.

The DACA-DREAMers and their allies have been knocking doors targeting Senators’ offices and are slowly but surely getting the commitment that supports their cause: A “no” vote unless the bill contains a permanent solution to their immigration situation.

This crisis of government shut down has been exacerbated by Trump, who has previously rejected a bipartisan agreement that contained a solution for DREAMers, and sent the House bill to be re-worked without the DREAM Act-type provision.

To avert a government shutdown, the Senate will need to come to an agreement with the House tonight before 11:59 EST.

The blame game for the lack of agreement so far has been nasty. Republicans are blaming Democrats for the potential shutdown stating they do not support the funding of national security, the military or children’s health, even though Republicans control the 3 branches of government.

The negotiations are expected to continue today in an hour-by-hour play while DREAMers and advocates continue to push the Senate to include a DREAM Act-type provision in the bill.  They will not be rest until the very end of this long day.

What can you do? Follow the advice of the United We DREAM posting above.

Justice Department is Rushing a DACA Appeal While Lawmakers Present Another Option for a DACA Fix

Immigration lawyers and advocates are urging Immigrant youth whose DACA application has expired or is about to expire, to renew as soon as possible, as the Trump administration is appealing the Federal Judge’s decision to re-start the program to both the Ninth Circuit and the Supreme Court.

The Court decision to re-start DACA is only for individuals who had been beneficiaries in the past and no new applications are being accepted.

Please follow this link to review USCIS guidelines to DACA renewal.

We already blogged at Lacey and Larkin Frontera Fund that an appeal was very likely to be presented to the courts.

However, activists with National Immigration Center (NILC) believe that the Administration is rushing the legal work without necessary care to present a procedurally correct appeal.

 

In the meantime, Congressmen Will Hurd (R-TX) and Pete Aguilar (D-CA) introduced today a new bipartisan legislation aiming to provide a DACA fix and a pathway to U.S. citizenship for immigrant youth (DREAMers).

The new bill is called Uniting and Securing America (USA) Act and along with the DACA fix adds resources for the construction of the border wall and other immigration enforcement tools. Click here to see the Facebook video.

Legal analysts with NILC agreed that the bill has some flaws but see it as positive in general, especially as the Trump administration is making its Justice Department appeal the re-activation of the DACA program.

It is calculated more than 16,000 recipients of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) have lost protections since the Trump administration terminated the program in September.

DACA-DREAMers Gather Again in Washington to Condemn the Sabotaging of DREAM Act Talks and Continue the Pressure

Hundreds of DREAMers gathered again today 1/16/18  for another well-coordinated Operation DREAM Act where they repudiated the racist comments by Trump during the bi-partisan meeting on immigration that took place last week, where he described some countries at S***holes.

The mentally unstable president, uttered derogatory and racist comments during the presentation of the bi-partisan proposal to pass the spending bill with some immigration legislation, predominantly the DREAM Act and other immigration restrictions provisions the Republicans want to attach in exchange for their support such as funding for the border wall, more immigration enforcement, the elimination of the Visa lottery and a partial solution for some TPS recipients.

The DREAMers are challenging the US Senators to choose a side. Either they are Racists or DREAM heroes.

Allow me to speculate here. It is easy to assume that Trump was ready to sabotage any bi-partisan agreement no matter what, drowning the hopes of hundreds of thousands of young immigrants for a permanent solution to their immigration situation. Additionally, he was ready to take the attention of the media out of a porn star payout scandal that circulated in the media the same week.

Trump is not to be trusted.

However, DREAMers are back in Washington in full force visiting Senator’s offices, protesting, and sharing their stories.

USCIS Posts Guidelines for DACA Renewal After Court Decision to Reinstate the Program

Late Saturday afternoon, on January the 13th 2018, United States Citizen and Immigration Services (USCIS) posted the guidelines for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) renewal after a court revived the program last week.

Here is the link to the page now available.

Previously, the program was terminated in a slow phase-off by the Trump administration putting 800,000 young immigrants in danger of deportation and financial hardship.  The DACA program exists since 2012 when President Obama ordered the creation of the program which protects DREAMers and gives a chance of quasi-normal life, where they can access jobs legally and are protected from deportation. Along with this benefits many access driver licenses and in-state tuition in most of the USA.

Advocates of the young immigrants are encouraging them to renew the applications, especially those who fell out of the renewal in recent days. Even before the start of the phase-off program, it was calculated 122 DACA beneficiaries lost their statuses every single day, among other situations.

Amazon’s Jeff Bezos and his Wife Donate 33M to Scholarship Fund.  Read Our Blog About the Fund

Yesterday, tech titan Jeff Bezos and his wife McKenzie Bezos announced the 33M dollars donation to The DREAM US, a scholarship fund which benefits DACA-DREAMers and TPS individuals.

We have blogged several times with Lacey and Larkin Frontera Fund about this opportunity in the past. Personally, I was part of the informal conversations in Arizona before the launching of the initiative at ASU. I applaud this scholarship fund for many reasons, but especially because of the efficient use of the resources. It gives students the opportunity to start their studies at a community college system for the 2 first years of undergraduate studies and continue 2 years at Arizona State University. This requirement makes a good use of the resources and gives the students a chance with a gradual transition to the University system.  With this approach, more students can also benefit from the scholarship fund since community colleges are a cheaper alternative to quality education.

Here is our recent blog about The Dream US.  You will find useful links to general information and the application. The deadline is approaching!

What DACA Beneficiaries Need to Do After the Reinstatement of the Process by Court Order

1. Push Congress to pass the DREAM Act. Congress will have the opportunity on January 19 to add to the spending bill a permanent solution similar to a DREAM Act. Many obstacles are on the horizon as Republican lawmakers will try to attach funding for the border wall and several immigration restrictionist initiatives. Participate in the advocacy for a clean DREAM Act. Connect with nationwide organizations, join online activism and participate in events with a local organization such as this and this. Do the same if you are an advocate. Do not forget to donate to some of these organizations, as we do. Lacey and Larkin Frontera Fund is a proud supporter of immigrant rights organizations.

2. Be ready to renew, but wait until USCIS posts the processAs of today, January 11, 2018, USCIS has not posted any update that reflects the judge’s injunction and reopens the application process. Lawyers suggest you wait but get all your documents ready for renewal.

3. Use your DACA to enroll in post-secondary education. Each day you have DACA is a blessing that needs to be used for your professional and personal growth. Ninety-five percent of DACA recipients work, study or do both. Take this opportunity to continue with your education. Enroll now in technical school, community college or university, even if it is just one or two classes. Take advantage of courses that will make you self-employable and are in high demand. For example, the Maricopa County Community Colleges are offering three classes that will give you skills to start a career in computer programing by building apps. This is designed for students who need to study and work and who want to build a portfolio of skills in the near future while they can market what they know. There are even open-source coding classes! Look into your local community college for similar opportunities.

4. Start a business. DREAMers own businesses at TWICE the national average rate. Many immigrant youths have discovered that they cannot depend on the whims of the political system and are starting their own businesses to advance economically. For inspiration, please read our series on DREAMers who do not need a work permit herehere and here.

5. Stay on top of the news. Yes, this is going to be a rollercoaster of a news cycle. Trust Lacey and Larkin Frontera Fund for keeping you informed of the latest developments.

6. Be resilient. Be aware but not scared. Transform any anxiety into positive action, and share your concerns with trusted family and friends. Seek support from DREAM Act advocates, and be confident there are people who care about you and are fighting for you and with you.

Big Sigh of Relief: Judge Blocks Trump’s DACA Wind-Down. 

A federal court declared an important ruling for DACA-DREAMers last night. San Francisco-based judge William Alsup ordered the administration to continue with the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which was scheduled to be phased off by March.

The judge recognized that Trump’s decision was arbitrary and without a valid reason. Lacey and Larkin Frontera Fund denounced and opposed this heartless action, and proudly supports DACA-DREAMers’ efforts to integrate completely into life in the U.S.

This is what the ruling means:

1. The federal government must continue with the program. This applies to all DACA beneficiaries in all states in the U.S. (so there are not rogue states like Arizona trying to limit the judge’s decision).

2. USCIS will continue to receive renewals (which were terminated October 5, 2017). DACA-DREAMers must be aware that yesterday’s decision could be halted by a higher court.

3. The decision does not mandate the acceptance of new applications. Unfortunately, it does not allow younger DREAMers or people who have never applied to be considered for the DACA program.

4. The judge stated the decision to phase off DACA “was presented on a false legal premise.”

5. This is not a permanent decision. The Trump administration will likely appeal, and a reversal may be ruled by a higher court. The litigation may take years.

This has not been the only ruling regarding the DACA phase-off.

At the very end of 2017, a Second Circuit Court of Appeals made a favorable ruling for DACA-DREAMers, stating that the government could not hide documents regarding its decision to phase off DACA. This is important because lawyers supporting immigrant youth may be able to claim the decision to end DACA was made with “animus” – intention to hurt DACA recipients not based on any valid argument.

Yesterday was an interesting day for immigrant youth. Early in the day, a bipartisan meeting that included Trump stated that they will work on a solution for DREAMers and possibly immigration reform. However, they agreed to add “border security” items to the bill. Many legal and political observers noted that border security means very different things for Democrats and Republicans. They predict that the GOP will try to add extreme spending for construction of the border wall (in the billions of dollars), the dismantling of some immigration staples such as claiming some family members for legalization, and the end of the visa lottery, for example.

The whole issue of the cancellation of DACA and the crafting of a bipartisan bill under a GOP-dominated White House and Congress seems more like highjacking and blackmail.

Trump, in his Trumpian fashion, complained about the San Francisco court’s decision, tweeting: “It just shows everyone how broken and unfair our Court System is when the opposing side in a case (such as DACA)… almost always wins before being reversed by higher courts.”

In the meantime, hundreds of DACA-DREAMers are gathering in Washington, D.C., pushing for a permanent solution that does not include extreme anti-immigrant measures. Stay tuned for the latest developments.

Trump’s Worse Immigration Action of 2017: Dismantling DACA

Breaking his promise to show DREAMers “great heart,” the evidently heartless President Trump terminated DACA in September. The move threw the lives of approximately 800,000 young immigrants, plus their families, into disarray. Many fear that they and their families could be deported when the program ends officially in March 2018. Thousands have already lost their benefits during the phase-off.

The Obama-era program, which provides protection from deportation and a work permit for immigrants brought to the country as children, generated massive social and economic success, plus enjoyed widespread support across the country.

Since the announcement, DREAMers have held numerous protests to push Congress to sign a DREAM Act. Seven young immigrant leaders were detained following a civil disobedience protest at Capitol Hill on December 15. But Congress, which has barely been able to avoid a government shutdown, has put off negotiating a solution for DACA-DREAMers until January.

Students Analyze Trump’s Statements and Add the Results to Lawsuits

My first job as a communications student back in Mexico was doing social research. I’m familiar with the methodologies and techniques used in this field, especially the ones related to quantitative research.

The key to quantitative social research is transforming apparently unmeasurable concepts into quantifiable data to determine the presence, absence, and intensity of factors. Thanks to statistical tools, you can reveal interesting information and create valid claims.

So when I read this article by Univision, I found myself cheering for the students and the good use of social research to sustain legal claims.

A team of 35 students at the University of California in Los Angeles has participated in a social research study analyzing Donald Trump’s language as candidate and as president against immigrants.  The results of the study have been incorporated in the amicus brief (friends of the court) accompanying a lawsuit filed by 15 states’ attorney generals to support the beneficiaries of the DACA program (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) against Trump’s executive order to rescind the program.

The title of the study is “The President’s Intent”.

Thanks to the collection of data researchers and lawyers can state, backed by numbers, that Trump expresses clear anti-immigrant sentiments. The lawyers can use this information to demonstrate that the DACA phase-off is racially motivated and therefore unconstitutional.

The students analyzed 347 speeches and more than 6,000 tweets. The collection of the data from the tweets and speeches reveals that Trump connected “Hispanic immigrants” with negative adjectives as “criminals”, “killers”, “gang members”, “rapists”, “drug dealers” “enemy(ies),” “lethal,” “murderers” and “corrupt.” The analysis also revealed that he uses the language in a manner that is “caustic, derogatory, hurtful and false”.

Although you do not need a study to know that Trump’s speech is racist and bias,  it is important to show the courts in a cool, professional, and methodologically correct way the evidence for one reason: Judges are sensitive to “intent”.

In the opinion of Robert Chang, a law professor who worked closely in this research, ‘the statements made by Trump…openly express animosity toward immigrants” and this may be ground to declare the DACA phase-off a violation of the constitution.

A Small Victory for DACA-DREAMers. 2nd Circuit Tells Government to Show all Papers

Just when I thought nothing on the immigration front will happen for the rest of the year, the good lawyers at NILC-National Immigration Center have scored a small but important victory for immigrant youth.

The Second Circuit Court of Appeals has decided that the government can’t use a set of facts to justify a decision that affects hundreds of thousands of people and then keep those facts secret.

Background: National Immigration Law Center, along with Yale Law School and Make the Road New York filed a lawsuit against the decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program in September. The organizations alleged that the decision was arbitrary, did not follow the adequate procedures, and was discriminatory.

As expected, the Trump administration defended itself stating that the government is entitled to choose what documents show the courts, blocking the view of the internal conversations and decision-making process.

Today the court say the administration needs to show all documents related to the decision.

Lawyers participant in the lawsuit stated that the law requires federal agencies to show documentation for all kinds of actions (unless is classified information, which the DACA decision is not).

Plaintiffs in the District Court also identified materials missing from the government’s records during the presentation of the case.

Today’s decision is a win for transparency and a small victory for DACA DREAMers who are fighting the fight for their lives and are pressuring Congress to pass a clean DREAM Act.

Democrat lawmakers Face Backlash After Failure to Pressure for DREAM-Act Legislation

Congress only was able to manage the passage of a temporary spending bill during the last week before the holidays to prevent an imminent government shutdown, but they never agreed to incorporate a DREAM Act legislation leaving in limbo 800,000 immigrant youth.

The consensus among Republicans is that they have until March 2018 to deal with the issue when the work permits that allow DACA beneficiaries to work legally in this country start expiring in mass.  However, young immigrants are fearful that the vote may not come at all, and if it does, the legislation will be presented with draconian immigration enforcement measures that would make the lives of immigrants more difficult in this country.

Many Democrats who did not hold their vote back for the temporary spending bill are facing the backlash of DREAMers and their advocates. Those Democrats are in vulnerable districts with facing re-election next year among them Kyrsten Sinema, from Arizona.

This Year’s Window of Opportunity It’s Closed. The Fight Continues Next Year

This will not be a happy Christmas at immigrant youth’s homes. The suspense continues, along with the horrible feeling that their lives are being used by both parties as political bargaining chips.

Congress is setting their aims to deal with their “situation”, to avoid 800,000 persons start being marked for deportation and losing their permit to work legally in this country (among many other benefits), after the Holiday season.

According to Politico, Donald Trump’s chief of staff met yesterday with lawmakers from both parties, where a solution to the DACA-DREAMers was proposed by (likely) January.

Unfortunately, this is not a surprise. Congress has been unable to even deal with the passage of the omnibus spending bill, the one that ensures the government pays its expenses, and only they have been just able to secure a short-term agreement to avoid a government shutdown.

There are conversations in Washington that after the Holidays the politicians will negotiate government spending, DACA and immigration enforcement issues as in a monopoly game.

Let’s not forget that this crisis was made-up by Trump, who inhumanly directed his US Attorney General Jeff Sessions to dismantle the DACA program in an effort to please his alt-right, extremist supporters and continue the dismantling of President Obama’s legacy.

Republican leaders feel relaxed saying they still have time until March 2018 when the DACA permits will be ending in mass to a rate of a 1,000 a day or 30,000 each month.  Obviously, this is a callous attitude that does not reflect the sense of urgency towards immigrants brought to this country as minors and at no fault of their own.

What is real is that many DACA-DREAMers are already losing their permits (at a rate of 122 a day) and their lives are filled with uncertainty.  I bet many are putting plans on hold.

clean dream act 2

Any DACA-DREAM agreement will not come easily: John Kelly, the White House Chief of Staff, will present soon a list of border security and policy changes the Republican administration wants as part of the deal, according to some policymakers present at the meeting.

This is a situation that immigrant youth activist feared the most: the DACA phase-off be used by the Trump administration to harden immigration policy against their parents and loved ones.

Senator Jeff Flake has been a participant in this conversations and apparently, he feels he has Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s commitment to hold a cloture vote on the floor with an immigration deal “before the next likely deadline to fund the government, Jan. 19”.

Pardon our skepticism.

Along the DACA-DREAM and border enforcement, the potential passage of the spending bill will likely include conversations about other immigration issues such an overhaul of the nation’s asylum system, a change in policy toward unaccompanied minors who are apprehended at the southern border.

Still, DREAM-DACA advocates will be pushing lawmakers to hold their vote to any spending bill (short-term or not) if it does not contain a solution to the DACA phase-off.

They will keep fighting until the very end.

DREAM-Act Leaders Still in Custody After Civil Disobedience in Washington

7 Immigrant youth leaders, among them Arizonans Erika Andiola and Belen Sisa, continue in custody following a civil disobedience protest at Capitol Hill which started last Friday, December the 15th.

According to immigrant rights organizations, Erika and Belen are also on a hunger strike and they are not cooperating with authorities. They will be on hold at least until tomorrow Tuesday in the morning.

Immigrant rights activists are afraid that Washington, D.C. Pretrial Services are contacting ICE on Erika Andiola, and that the other 6 activists are in danger of being flagged for deportation proceedings.

They initiated the civil disobedience at Capitol Hill Senate offices until Senator Chuck Schumer and Congressman Carlos Curbelo confirm they have enough votes to block the spending bill and can force Congress to integrate a DREAM Act legislation into the omnibus spending bill. Immigrant youth wants the DREAM Act being voted as part of this critical bill which maintains government open and functioning.

There is only one week left to vote The DREAM Act as part of the spending bill since Christmas recess starts by the end of this week: The House of Representatives starts recess on Thursday and the Senate starts recess on Friday.

Well-known Arizona activist Erika Andiola posted this message on her tweeter account:

Belen Sisa added:

This is not the only event related to the DREAM Act in Washington this critical week. Several groups of DREM-Act-DACA activists are making the trip to Washington, D.C. to advocate it’s passage.

We will keep you updated.

Great Advocacy Tool! Map Shows the Number of DREAM Act-Eligible Individuals per Congressional District Along with GDP Earnings if the Legislation is Passed.

DREAM Act advocates have facts on their side, and our opponents just live on stereotypes and falsehoods. Great advocacy organizations are crunching the numbers and putting the results in great formats so the benefits of passing a DREAM Act legislation in Congress is clear to everyone, specially Congresspersons.

The Center for the study of Immigrant Integration, part of the University of Southern California has a very cool tool: A U.S. map with the number of DREAM Act-eligible individuals by congressional district and the GDP gains if the legislation is passed by Congress.

Here is the link to the interactive graphic. 

DACA2017_Dashboard (1)

Please share it in your advocacy.  We will be tweeting the graphic to those members of Congress in Arizona who still need to show their support to DREAMers.

Congress Momentarily Avoids Government Shut Down Without Agreeing on a DREAM Act Deal

Republicans and Democrats momentarily agreed in passing a two-week funding bill last Thursday, avoiding a government shutdown just one day ahead of the deadline. But Congress did it without fixing longer disagreements with the budget neither making a commitment to add to the deal a DREAM Act type of legislation, which will provide a fix to the problems of DACA beneficiaries.

The clock is inexorably ticking for immigrant youth. Trump, in his usual cruelness and racism, decided to phase-off the program which provided a reprieve from deportation and an opportunity to work legally for about 800,000 young individuals, because, in part, he hates Obama and he wants to eliminate all of his legacy.

Congress just postponed these decisions and will be facing a turbulent next few weeks as they try to pass a broader budget deal by the end of the year.  Along the many pressures, the DACA-DREAMers will be letting their voices heard loud and clear, since their livelihoods has been thrown into the hands of Congress.

This is particularly cruel since we know Congress is extremely partisan and dysfunctional lately. DACA-DREAMers are fundraising and pulling up community resources to maintain a presence in Washington, D.C.  Many DACA-DREAMers are advocating and protesting Congresspersons and Senators and putting their safety on the line in their quest for a path to legalization.

Thanks to the critical mass which DACA-DREAMers have created, their allies are also joining them in the fight. Several have been arrested, calling the attention of the media and the general public into this issue.

Lacey and Larkin Frontera Fund will let you know about the developments these upcoming weeks.

DREAM Act and Government Shut Down: Why are the Two Intertwined?

It may seem confusing to the public, why the issues of the DREAM Act passage and the solution for young immigrants who are DACA recipients is intertwined with the funding of the federal government and the potential shut down if the differences between Republicans and Democrats are not solved.

Unfortunately, for more than 10 years immigrant youth and their advocates have tried to pass a DREAM Act legislation either as a standalone bill, as part of a comprehensive immigration reform package or attached to other bills, such as military spending.

clean dream act

This resistance to positive solutions for our broken immigration system in Congress make it impossible at this point to pass a stand-alone DREAM Act or as part of CIR realistically speaking.  Given the opposition, DACA-DREAMers supporters in Congress see the best shot to avoid the phase off of the DACA program in attaching a DREAM Act bill to the spending bill in Congress.

Young immigrants really depend on this maneuver. 2018 is an election year and the possibilities of meaningful change are almost zero. Meanwhile, the clock is inexorably ticking toward March 5th, 2018, when the first (officially) DACA permits end, bringing to their lives the fear of deportation and the end of their legal work permits.

So DREAMers are being left to request to their allies in Congress a no vote on the spending bill if it does not contain a DREAM Act legislation attached, bringing the possibility to a government shutdown this December.

As usual in Washington, Republicans are accusing Democrats of granting amnesty, while Democrats defend themselves saying they want to keep the government open while fixing a situation created by Trump.

Trump announced the arbitrary end of the Obama-era DACA program, September the 5th, 2017.

Previously, Trump approached Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer the Democrat leaders to work for a solution for the DACA beneficiaries, but the possibility of the deal was slammed by immigration restrictionists and extremist of the Republican party, moving Trump into a non-negotiation mode.

However, Democrats still can flex their muscles.

The spending bill requires 60 votes to pass the Senate, so the 52 Republicans don’t have enough votes to keep the government open on their own. This is when they will need the Democrats who will be (hopefully) attaching their conditions for the vote.

Arizona DACA-DREAMers Pressure Members of Congress to Pass a Clean DREAM Act. Activist Arrested at McCain’s Office

The following 3 weeks will be key for DACA-DREAMers across the country since the best opportunities to pass a DREAM Act-type legislation are in December 2017.

Let’s remember that next year will be mid-term elections and the chances of passing significant legislation dwindle. Electoral years make lawmakers queasy.

DACA beneficiaries and their allies are putting all efforts advocating, staging protests across the nation.

Yesterday, 7 DACA allies were arrested at John McCain’s Senate office in Phoenix, as a result of a civil disobedience sit-in.

protest McCain

Seven activists got arrested for protesting McCain’s offices in Phoenix.

The activist sat down in front McCain’s glass door office and refused orders to leave while demanding that McCain pledges to vote against the upcoming Spending Bill unless it includes a clean DREAM Act legislation.

The DREAM Act will allow undocumented youth, DACA recipients, to remain in the country legally, have a work permit so they can work legally and take care of themselves and their families.

A clean DREAM Act is a legislation that provides a path to legalization for DACA- DREAMers, securing the political gains of the DACA program and which does not contains sections that further criminalize undocumented immigrants or adds spending for the border wall.

Immigrants do not want to pass a DREAM Act which in turn will make life unbearable for their undocumented parents.

The protest was organized by Undocumented Students for Education Equality, a group of students from Arizona State University and other left-leaning groups.

Lacey and Larkin Frontera Fund posted the live video originated during the protest on Facebook.

Arrested activists were let go from the 4th Ave. jail the following day after paying bond

Jeff Flake Vote on Tax Bill Was Secured With A Tenous Promise On DACA

After standing up in Congress on October 24th, 2017 and deliver a scathing condemnation on the Trump administration, you would think that Senator Jeff Flake will try to stay away from what Donald wanted so badly, like the unpopular Tax Reform bill just passed by the Senate on Friday.

Jeff Flake

But the Arizona Senator, who recently announced that he will not seek re-election, said he was voting for the Tax Reform bill after eliminating a “business expensing measure”  he called a “gimmick” and securing the agreement from the White House and Senate leader Mitch McConnel to have a place on the table on the DACA negotiations, in exchange for his vote.

DACA is the program created during the Obama administration that allows undocumented young immigrants who fulfill strict requirements to stay in the country without the fear of deportation and legally work through a work permit.

Flake tweeted on Friday, December the 1st: “I will support #TaxReform bill after securing language to eliminate an $85 billion budget gimmick as well as commitment from the administration & #Senate leadership to advance growth-oriented legislative solution to enact fair & permanent protections for #DACA recipients,”

Editorialists in Arizona slammed Senator’s Flake decision to vote for the Tax Reform Bill using DACA as the selling out of America’s middle class for a flimsy commitment on DACA.

Analysts had pointed out that the “commitment” from the top GOP” has no specific policy concessions or a timeline for when the agreement might happen”.

According to the site Vox, Jeff Flake admitted that the negotiations were uncertain.

DACA-DREAMers and their advocates are traveling to Washington this week to push the addition of the DREAM Act on the budget reconciliation or (less likely scenario) as a stand-alone bill, hoping a solution to the end of DACA can be brought before the end of the year.

To many, Flake’s negotiation that culminated with his support for the Tax Reform bill offers just a cover-up excuse that in the end will not help dreamers (can you really trust Donald Trump and Mitch McConnell?) and will dramatically increase taxes for the poor and middle class while the ultra-rich gets tax breaks.

@RealBambadjan Discloses He is a DACA Recipient Searching for a Permanent Solution

Bambadjan Bamba, an actor who has participated in popular movies, TV shows and is also a filmmaker, joined the courageous ranks of the undocumented and unafraid, disclosing his immigration status and stating he is a DACA recipient.  Bambadjan Bamba says he is stepping forward now to show that undocumented immigrants are productive citizens and to spread awareness in the wake of the Trump administration phase-off of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which the Obama administration created in 2012.

Bamba came as a child to the USA from Ivory Coast in West Africa along with his family in 1992, fleeing political persecution. and he is currently a DACA recipient.

The actor taped a video for the immigrant advocacy organization Define American, describing how he got here, the difficulties undocumented immigrants face and the importance of DACA for his professional advancement and of his young family.

Read here our article regarding this courageous immigrant. 

Contact your Congressperson and 2 Senators and ask them to support the DREAM Act, which will provide a path to legalization to persons like Bamba. Follow this link. 

DACA Twins in Danger of Losing Their Parents Through Trump’s Deportation Machine

Heartless Trump’s deportation machine is working full force and brings today, during the Thanksgiving Holiday, this sad story about twin DACA recipients who are not only losing their protection soon but dealing with their parents’ deportation. Read the story here, and the sad case of the teenage kid with Down syndrome losing his Moroccan mother through deportation.

DACA Twins and Teenager with Down Syndrome in Danger of Being Victims of Trump’s Deportation Machine

What is a Clean DREAM Act?

I found this tweet that explain it all. It is very simple. Help immigrant youth without penalizing their relatives that may be undocumented immigrants and without wasteful gimmicks like the construction of the border wall.

Scholarship for DREAMers Accepting Applications for 2018

The DREAM US 2017-001

 

In spite of the current challenges, DREAMers need to make all efforts to advance their education.  The DREAM US is opening a new round of scholarships starting Nov. 1st. 2017.

More information here.

 

 

What YOU Need to Know and Do Before DACA Phases Off

Here are the most important things you should know about the phase-out period:

  • Your work permit is valid until the expiration date in the EAD and you have the unrestricted right to work in the USA.
  • Your employer could not deny a job while the EAD is still valid and has no right to ask if you have DACA or if you are affected by the end of it.
  • Your employer should not dismiss you, not modify the conditions of your job until your EAD expires.
  • Your Social Security Numbers is yours to keep, but will not allow you to work legally past the expiration date on your EAD. You can continue to use the SSN for activities such as banking, or education.
  • In Arizona, the driver’s license will end by end date of your EAD
  • In-state-tuition is still available for DACA recipients in Arizona in spite of the legal challenges. The benefit will end with the expiration of your EAD. Register for classes as long as you can!
  • USCIS is not granting Advance Parole to DACA recipients anymore and most lawyers do not recommend to exit the country even if you have a previously approved AP.
  • Now is the time to work on a DREAM Act or similar legislation.  Organize friends, family, and supporters to call Congresspersons in Washington to support a good legislation to provide a path to legalization to undocumented youth. Organize, organize, organize. 
  • Stay in touch with the main organizing groups like United We DREAM and your local groups such as The Arizona DREAM Act CoalitionPuente, and Center for Neighborhood LeadershipAliento and Undocumented Students for Education Equity at ASU to push for a good legislation an report any possible detention of immigrant youth.
  • If you are arrested, contact an experienced immigration lawyer. Always have the number of a competent attorney at hand.
  • DACA-DREAMers. You have an unrestricted right to work until the expiration date on your work permit (EAD)
DACA-DREAMers: You should not have problems to work while the EAD (Employment Authorization Document) is valid.

Start creating a business to shield you from Congress lack of leadership.

 

The End of DACA. Last Renewal Date Approaches

The cruel decision to terminate the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA) is coming to a reality as the last day to renew a portion of all DACA beneficiaries sunsets this week.

Individuals who needed to renew between September 2017 and March 5th, 2018 have the last chance to renew until October 5th, 2017, when their application must be at USCIS (not postmarked).

DACA beneficiaries whose renewal period was March 6th, 2018 and beyond, were left out of this opportunity.

The DACA program, in theory, will start to end in cascade starting March 6th, 2018, giving some only 6 months chance to take advantage of this program.

 Republicans Introduce Conservative Act to Protect DACA

On Monday, September the 25th, 2017 2 Republican Senators introduced a conservative and slim alternative to DREAM Act called Succeed Act. You can locate commentary and information on social media #SUCCEEDAct.

This is a good graph made by DRM Action that summarizes the content of the bill.

Succeed Act

As we can see, it is a tougher bill that continues to scrutinize and delay any permanent status for the DREAMers. For the DACA program young immigrants already fulfilled background checks and re-checks.

DACA Recipients File Lawsuit Against the Trump Administration

Six DACA beneficiaries aided by a team of legal luminaries have filed a lawsuit against the Trump administration’s plan to end the program in six months which temporarily protects immigrants brought as children to the USA.

One of the attorneys for the plaintiffs, Luis Cortes Romero is DREAMer, a fellow immigrant, and one of the plaintiffs, DACA recipient Dulce Garcia, is also an attorney practicing in Chula Vista, Calif.

This lawsuit filed yesterday, 9/18/17 is the third on the ending of DACA.

Previously, Fifteen states filed a lawsuit earlier this month in New York. The University of California has also filed its own lawsuit over President Trump intention to end the Program without a Congressional solution in place.

Later in the day Monday, Trump’s attempt to shut down DACA was hit with another suit. The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, better known as the NAACP, filed its own legal action in Washington, D.C. noting the majority of persons affected are people of color.

Student Bullies DACA Student. Gets Expelled

Hate is real! Tayler Ragg, a student and Trump supporter reported a DACA classmate on social media thinking it would make him cool.  The former Transylvania University student posted a picture of the victim’s Facebook page and captioned it, “Everyone go report this illegal at my school.” Transylvania University is located in Kentucky.

Paola Garcia, who is a DACA recipient, started receiving harassing messages by social media and uploaded a video denouncing the actions of his fellow classmate.

After being accused of not intervening, the University personnel took matters into their hands, investigated and took action on the matter.

The Herald-Leader  reported that the student who allegedly targeted Ms. Garcia is no longer enrolled at Transylvania University. University officials would not comment on whether the student was expelled or withdrew on his own accord, citing federal privacy laws.

 Arizona Attorney General Files a Lawsuit Against Public Universities Citing #DACA Students as an Issue

Brnovich finally did it. The Arizona Attorney General filed a bogus lawsuit against Arizona Public Universities (ASU, NAU and UofA) using the DACA-DREAMers issue as an excuse.

The number of undocumented students at the 3 Public Universities, does not amount to any significant use of resources that causes an increase in tuition of 300%.  Do not be mistaken: his motivations are purely political.

It is calculated DACA students comprise less than 1% of students at the 3 Public Universities are #DACA. The numbers do not add up. The only explanation for this action is “animus,” or in plain language, hate against young, mostly Hispanic, people.

We will see you in court!

DACA by the Numbers
  • Nearly  800,000 people are DACA beneficiaries across the country.
  • 1.1 million people were eligible for DACA, according to a 2014 Pew estimate.
  • California received the highest number of DACA applications at 223,000. Texas, New York, Illinois, and Florida are the top five states along with California.
  • Arizona has approximately 28,000 of DACA beneficiaries, and one of the higher rates of application to the program.
  • 95% of DACA recipients were working or in school, according to a 2016 survey.
  • About 72 percent were enrolled in higher education programs.
  • 54% of DACA recipients recently bought their first car, according to a 2016 survey; 12% bought a home.
  • 21% of DACA recipients work in education and health services, the highest of any other industry, according to a 2016 survey.
  • DACA helped raise wages: According to a 2016 survey, recipients made an average wage of $13.96 an hour, compared to $9.83 an hour before DACA.
  • 98 percent were bilingual and most said their ability to speak two languages is an asset to their employer.
  • The economy may lose $460 billion of GDP and about $24 billion in Social Security and Medicare tax contributions if DACA is terminated.
  • 17 percent were married to an American citizen
  • 26 percent had a child who is an American citizen.
Read here our blog about the overwhelming support DACA-DREAMers have.

Lacey and Larkin Frontera Fund are steadfast supporters of DREAMers and we are proud to invest and fund their organizations.

We recognized their leadership and strive to nurture it.

Read our statement about our condemnation to the end of the #DACA program and our commitment to support their quest for justice.

 Politico Announces the End of DACA in Six Months.  It is Not an Official Statement 

Just in the middle of Labor Day Weekend Politico posted an article stating the end of the DACA program with six months delay, according to unnamed sources.

You can read the Politico article here.

We know anti-immigrant Attorney General Jeff Sessions is behind efforts to end DACA since he believes President Obama had no power to issue the executive order that created the program and that the deferred action should have been created by Congress. Besides, he is not the kind of person who gives opportunities to people of color.

Politico’s article is really opportunistic and the title misleading.  It is sending shockwaves among the young immigrants and their allies who had been stressed enough by the White House comments.  Reality is (as the same article acknowledges) 45’s administration is well known for its instability and “nothing is set in stone”.

DACA-DREAMers know if it comes to worse, the six month period before the ending of the DACA program may be a great opportunity to actually pass the DREAM Act, bringing a permanent solution to their woes.

This tweet by Gabe Ortiz sums our thoughts on Sunday:

In spite of all the support demonstrated all over the country, Trump cowardly announced the phase-off of #DACA program, which protected immigrant youth from deportation and gave them the opportunity to get involved in the economy.

 Executives to the Rescue!

We know most people support DREAMers and are upset President Trump may terminate the program as soon as today.  Among vocal supporters who are reaching out to the Trump administration, you will find top executives like the CEOs of Google, Apple, GM, Starbucks, and Facebook.

Here is an article that describes these efforts to save DACA. 

Can Something be Done to Keep DACA?

Efforts are being made to keep the program going and avoid a move from the Trump administration to eliminate it.

Florida Republican Congressman Carlos Cubelo has introduced an amendment to an upcoming spending package to keep DACA intact. At the same time, 1,850 leaders from across the country are asking President Trump to keep the program.

The group is comprised of eight governors, five state attorneys general, more than 130 mayors, 230 state legislators, and a slew of faith leaders, among others.

You do not need to be an elected official to support the DACA_DREAMers.  Show your support participanting on their rallies, donating to their organization, writing letter of the editor and post your support on social media.

Together we can make a difference!

 Are DACA individuals and other immigrants in danger during Trump’s visit to Arizona?

Local attorney Marcos E. Garciaacosta recently posted a warning to anyone who is not a US citizen. He indicated persons who are not citizens should “stay away from any contact with law enforcement which can lead to an arrest.” He stated that “my recent experience is that even if you have DACA or other temporary protection (TPS, etc.) if you get detained and taken to 4th Ave. Jail IT IS VERY LIKELY you will be processed through ICE”.

Read more here.

Why is DACA in Danger Right Now?

The Program, who is very successful and has brought back from the shadows close to 800K persons is being threatened by several Republicans who are voicing the extreme right wishes of eliminating the program.

 How can I find an immigration lawyer?

An immigration lawyer in the USA is a professional who holds a Juris Doctor degree and has specialized in immigration law. This individual has passed a rigorous bar exam, has been accepted as a member of the bar association of his or her state and remains in good standing with the bar association.

Contracting the services of a good lawyer is a real task that requires some knowledge.

You can find an immigration lawyer at the AILA (American Immigration Lawyers Association) website.

Read our blog post on the issue here. 

What is DACA?

DACA is an immigration policy. Its acronym stands for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals and it was created by an executive order by President Obama on June 15th, 2012. It offers, as the name said, a deferred action on deportation to young individuals who fulfill certain requisites.

If an individual fulfills the requisites, he or she needs to submit an application and evidence required and pay the application fees.  The deferment last 2 years and individuals can re-apply once the two years are up.

What are the requisites for applying to this Deferred Action?

You may request DACA if you:
  1. Were under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012;
  2. Came to the United States before reaching your 16th birthday;
  3. Have continuously resided in the United States since June 15, 2007, up to the present time;
  4. Were physically present in the United States on June 15, 2012, and at the time of making your request for consideration of deferred action with USCIS;
  5. Had no lawful status on June 15, 2012;
  6. Are currently in school, have graduated or obtained a certificate of completion from high school, have obtained a general education development (GED) certificate, or are an honorably discharged veteran of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States; and
  7. Have not been convicted of a felony, significant misdemeanor, or three or more other misdemeanors, and do not otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety.
How much does it cost to file a DACA application?

The application fees (as 8/2/17) is $495.00

Do I need a lawyer to file DACA?

No. There are great guides and instructions to file DACA. If you can afford a lawyer, you can shop around to find a good lawyer who can help you.  Follow our guide to find a reputable lawyer near you.

Avoid “notarios” or persons who are not qualified. Read our blog about “notario” fraud and how to prevent it.

How complicated is to file DACA?

Is it an intense process of filling forms and collecting evidence of your presence in the USA. USCIS asks to document the places you have lived, the schools you attended and will question any gap in documentation.

Is there any Guide to fill DACA?

Yes. There are several guides online. The official USCIS guide explains the process (follow this link).

Educators for Fair Consideration is a non-profit organization that posts great resources for undocumented youth and DREAMers. Here is their DACA guide.