“Do you recommend filing for DACA for the first time?” This question was posed in a Facebook group, during the 45th President of the United States’ first week in office. “Do it!” “Just Do it!” Said a couple of dreamers. Some of the participants in this online conversation asked for a careful consideration of the pros and the cons before filing. They called DACA a “measured risk.”
These debates happen every day among social-media-connected immigrant youth. The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, in spite of being a successful process that has deferred the deportation of young dreamers and provided them with the opportunity to work legally, has been under attack since candidate Donald Trump announced his decision to run for the presidency of the United States.
Courageous DACA-Dreamers are willing to take a chance.
Filing for DACA gives the Federal government detailed information of the whereabouts of the applicants and some information about their family members, many of them undocumented.
Trump promised to terminate DACA as one of his campaign promises, and the individuals who had applied for this benefit has been living on the edge since then.
Rumors circulated on-line Friday, on inauguration day, that President Trump would sign an executive action terminating the executive action immediately, but the day ended with no action against the young people.
USCIS, the federal agency that process and approves DACA, said through a spokesperson that the permits are being normally processed and that there was no immediate change in how the agency handles applications.
Later, White House press secretary Sean Spicer suggested that the DACA program was not a priority on the President list and that the priority will be to deport persons in the country illegally with a criminal record or “those who pose a threat to the American people.”
Karina Ruiz, President of The Arizona DREAM Act Coalition, says that there has been a steady flow of DACA applications filed through their offices. The Coalition offers low-fee DACA application filing services under the supervision of lawyers doing pro-bono work.
“We have been busy answering questions and concerns over the phone. The message is that they should still apply for renewals, but I have also seen a few struggling to file because they cannot afford the submission fee, not because they are holding up for fear”.
“People are they are not as afraid as I thought they would be. Especially the renewals because immigration already has our information. Very few are making the decision to hold off. There is hope that nothing bad will happen.”
In spite of the apparent relaxation of Trump stance on DACA recipients, immigrants and advocates acknowledge that far right groups are orchestrating an on-line campaign to pressure Trump to fulfill his campaign threats.
Numbers, USA a racist organization which advocates limiting all kind of immigration to the USA, has launched a trolling campaign on its website to encourage the termination of DACA.
DACA and immigrant advocates are asked to counter-act the campaign posting DACA success stories using the hashtags #DACA #SaveDACA #HereToStay and tweet why DACA matters to the community.
“Although DACA beneficiaries are afraid to lose the application money, the sentiment is that we already came out of the shadows, it will be very hard to go back without putting up a fight, and many are ready to take action,” said Karina.
It is expected President Trump will be taking some actions on immigration as early as today.