On the campaign trail, a key promise on immigration from candidate Donald Trump was that he would revoke the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, known as DACA. Now, Trump’s Department of Homeland Security says the program will remain in place.
The decision came late last week, on the fifth anniversary of the DACA program, which was put in place by President Obama. Eva Millona, executive director of the Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition, said it’s a welcome decision, especially for thousands of young people in the Bay State. But it only goes so far.
“Band-aid solutions are not the answer, but at least for now the DACA status does protect those who have, you know, a limbo status,” Millona said. “And we are relieved, for the moment, that continues.”
Even as the administration announced in a one-line statement on Thursday that it would not go after young people protected by DACA, Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly said the Trump administration will revoke DAPA, or Deferred Action for Parents of Americans.
For his part, President Trump has left it an open question whether he will keep the program going. On Friday, D.H.S. issued an additional statement saying the future of the DACA program continues to be under review with the administration.
Millona said, even if Trump keeps it, there are a couple of reasons that DACA always will be an imperfect solution.
“Because it excludes all the young people who arrived here since June 2007,” she said. “And the need to renew every two years creates uncertainty, and creates delays and anxiety, and all of that.”
Millona said the Trump administration needs to change course and stop deporting those without criminal records, with a goal, she said, of keeping families together.
“Immigration policy and immigration law remains dysfunctional and in need of repair,” she argued. “We call on Secretary of Homeland Security to really reconsider the priorities of the agency.”
Since DACA began, more than 7,900 Massachusetts residents have successfully applied.
Via Commonwealth News Service