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February 28, 2018

Future remains uncertain for DACA participants

The future remains uncertain for participants in the Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program after Congress and the Trump administration failed this month to reach an agreement to extend the program.

Even though President Trump announced in September 2017 that DACA would end March 5, federal judges in California and New York have blocked that action. Both judges ruled that the president’s decision to terminate the program, which was established in 2012 by President Obama through executive action, was flawed. The court rulings require the Department of Homeland Security to continue to process DACA renewal requests as the cases move through the courts. On Feb. 26, the Supreme Court declined the administration’s request for expedited review of the issue.

Nearly 800,000 undocumented individuals who were brought to the United States as children have participated in the program, which protects from deportation those who meet stringent criteria.

Taking up the issue this month, the Senate failed to pass two bipartisan measures and a proposal offered by the president, who demanded that other provisions be included in the legislation that would limit legal immigration and provide funding for a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border.

When the president made his announcement in September, ABA President Hilarie Bass urged Congress to act swiftly to pass legislation that provides a “fair, orderly and safe way ahead for the young people affected by this change.”

The ABA reinforced its position supporting the DACA participants – known as Dreamers − when the House of Delegates adopted a resolution Feb. 5 during the February Midyear Meeting that urges Congress to enact legislation to protect DACA recipients and other undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States as children.

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