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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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 Coalition, Puente, and Center for Neighborhood Leadership, Aliento 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 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.
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.
Speaking to reporters now about our lawsuit against ABOR over 300%+ tuition rate increases. pic.twitter.com/d3iOGhK4UV
— Mark Brnovich (@GeneralBrnovich) September 8, 2017
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.
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.
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:
— Gabe #DreamActNow Ortíz (@TUSK81) September 4, 2017
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.
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”.
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.
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:
- Were under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012;
- Came to the United States before reaching your 16th birthday;
- Have continuously resided in the United States since June 15, 2007, up to the present time;
- 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;
- Had no lawful status on June 15, 2012;
- 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
- 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.