Published January 15, 2017
4 ½ years ago President Obama implemented an executive order to allow undocumented young adults who were brought to the U.S. as children to obtain an employment authorization document or EAD. Under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, an approved applicant with EAD in hand is provided a legal avenue to establish their life here, starting with obtaining a legal social security number, and then driver’s license, state
i.d. etc. From there, opportunities to gain entry into college or universities open up, and of course, so do opportunities for lawful employment, and to contribute to our tax base. So long as he/she met certain educational and physical presence requirements and had no serious criminal record, the DACA applicant is issued a renewable 2-year EAD. Since its inception, an estimated 800,000 undocumented young adults have been approved.
With the election of Donald Trump, the future of approved DACA applicants, along with the other 11 million undocumented individuals residing in the U.S. has come into question. The big question everyone is waiting on concerns whether Trump will follow through with his bold campaign promises when it comes to rounding up our undocumented immigrants and ending the DACA program.
In response to uncertainty regarding the future of DACA and to ensure continued legal protection for approved DACA applicants (a.k.a DREAMERS), U.S. Senators Dick Durbin and Lindsey Graham recently introduced a bi-partisan supported bill known as, the “Bar Removal of Individuals who Dream and Grow Our Economy Act”, or “BRIDGE Act”.
In introducing the legislation on the Senate floor, Senator Durbin expressed his aim to “ensure that DREAMERS are protected from deportation until Congress is able to pass comprehensive immigration reform”. He further stated, “I would hope that President Trump comes in and says before I void the DACA executive order, we need to have an alternative”.
At the same time, President Elect Trump has expressed some second thoughts about following through on his “round ‘em up” promises. In a recent interview with Time magazine, Trump stated he would seek to “work something out” for the DREAMER population. Exactly what that means of course is uncertain, as are the prospects of his following through with so many of his other far reaching proclamations.
Let’s hope common sense, fairness and compassion prevail, and that measures to penalize a population that is ambitious, diligent and contributing do not go forward. Of course, more will be known in the weeks ahead.
PUBLISHED January 15, 2017– “IMMIGRATION LAW FORUM” Copyright © 2017, By Law Offices of Richard Hanus, Chicago, Illinois