Though declining to alter the rights and status of undocumented young persons under the 2012 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, the Trump administration opted to end efforts to establish a similar benefit for their parents, the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents status.
On June 15, citing the move as “housecleaning,” John Kelly, head of the Department of Homeland Security, indicated that legal roadblocks contributed to the end of DAPA.
DACA, an Obama-era program, allows undocumented young people who arrived in the United States as minors (16-and-under) after 1981 a stay against deportation, and provides opportunities to legalize their status, attend school and work.
Meanwhile, DAPA was controversial from the start, with a slight majority of states filing suit against the federal government, challenging the constitutionality of the program. After a 2015 injunction, which stopped the implementation of the program, the short-handed Supreme Court deadlocked at 4-4 in June 2016, leaving the injunction in place.
DACA and DAPA, combined, would have covered roughly half of the United States’ 11 million undocumented immigrants. This is pertinent, especially to New York, California and Texas. A study by the Migration Policy Institute estimated that 230,000 New Yorkers would have been eligible for DAPA coverage.
DACA, too, remains tenuous. Citing a “big heart,” President Donald Trump pledged in January to “take care” of DACA participants. Yet, while the program protects 600,000 persons from deportation, the federal government has yet to issue conclusive guidance whether the program would remain in place in the future.
Immigration advocates fear the rescinding of DAPA is a precursor to the eventual end of DACA, a promise that Trump had made on the campaign trail, which is inconsistent with his remarks from earlier this year.
The Migration Policy Institute estimates the deportation of a father in an undocumented household decreases income by 73 percent, making deportation an economic, as well as humanitarian, concern. The same study concluded that 95 percent of DAPA-eligible men were in the labor force, with 93 percent employment.
There is the reasonable conclusion that persons who would have been eligible for DAPA remain employed, with or without authorization. Lacking work authorization, however, has an adverse impact on wages, as well as labor conditions.
DAPA provisions would have protected parents of U.S. citizens, or permanent residents, from deportation. In its absence, these parents have been forced to make arrangements for the long-term guardianship of their children, in the event of their deportation.
Though the scope of deportation under the current administration is not yet confirmed, there have been reports of parents detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement while dropping their children off at school.
The National Academy of Sciences, in a 2015 report, cited efforts to block the integration of undocumented immigrants has “measureable long-term negative impacts on children who are lawful U.S. citizens.”
Aside from threats of deportation, the Trump administration has not yet determined its solution for the millions of undocumented persons in the United States. Birthright citizenship, a vaunted but maligned aspect of U.S. civics, remains protected by the Supreme Court. Mass deportation looks increasingly unfeasible and expensive, both in its impact to the U.S. economy, as well as the logistical and legal costs associated with uprooting 11 million people. The notorious border wall, aimed to block ever-decreasing crossings on the Southern border, is years, if not decades from completion.
All the while, an increasing number of U.S. citizens have a parent or relative living in legal limbo.
©2017 Community News Group
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