Published January 1, 2018


The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals measure implemented by President Obama has come to represent an issue bigger than just the undocumented young adults it protects and benefits.  Instead, it reflects on who we are as a nation and how we want to treat a population of individuals who arrived in the U.S. as children and through no choice of their own and who now have come to call the U.S. their home, their only home.  With President Trump’s decision to wind down DACA, confusion, panic and fear have set in for the 800,000 young adults who received work permits and temporary status under the program.  That confusion, panic and fear is not limited to just DACA beneficiaries, as entire communities including the immediate family members of DACA beneficiaries and others intimately connected to the DACA population, suffer as the program is rescinded.   With 2018 setting in, there’s not much reason to believe any kind of permanent or temporary measure –legislative or otherwise, will be put in place to benefit DACA people or any other segment of our nation’s undocumented population.  

For certain, there is bipartisan political support for the implementation of measures to protect the DACA community and on a permanent basis.  However, the very same uproar and angry politics about illegal immigration that led to the election of President Trump is what will likely continue to be a roadblock for any type of DACA reenactment.  With Trump’s rescission of DACA, each day 122 young people lose DACA protection and their right to keep their jobs.  If no action is taken, all 800,000 approved DACA applicants will lose their status in the coming 2 years – and be left without opportunities to continue working and be protected from deportation.  To be sure, the 800,000 we speak of are young adults who are otherwise law abiding and tax paying, have families and live deeply embedded lives in the U.S.   DACA applicants are current and future doctors, lawyers, engineers, scientists, artists, business owners and employers themselves.       

In today’s political environment, negotiations about DACA or a grander plan for a path to legalization for our nation’s undocumented, look to involve compromises involving increased funding for border security and/or a redesign of our legal immigration system and even reduction of the number of legal immigrants allowed admission each year.    But the question facing Republican politicians in Trump’s America is whether the factions angriest about illegal immigration will ever forgive a YES vote to approve a measure which forgives immigration law breakers in any way, and no matter the practical or humanitarian benefits.

The anger prevalent in our society, including in anti-immigration segments, is real and rooted in reasons both rational and irrational.  Unfortunately, the angry irrational voice is the one that tends to dominate conversations about immigration these days.  Sadly, this angry, irrational voice may very well continue to stifle progress for the foreseeable future in reaching a practical solution for DACA people and the greater undocumented population.   

PUBLISHED January 1, 2018– “IMMIGRATION LAW FORUM” Copyright © 2018, By Law Offices of Richard Hanus, Chicago, Illinois