Despite promises from President Trump, the fate of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and Temporary Protected Status (TPS) is still unclear. DACA is an Obama-era policy that protects people who were brought to the U.S. as children, some when they were too old to even walk, from being deported. TPS is a program that offers citizens of designated countries to stay in the U.S. and get employment authorization under three conditions: “ongoing armed conflict (such as civil war) an environmental disaster (such as earthquake or hurricane), or an epidemic, other extraordinary and temporary conditions.” Currently, El Salvador, Honduras, and Nicaragua are under TPS, but their status is set to expire in January 2018. If not renewed, people previously protected by TPS will be subject to deportation. Homeland Security Secretary John F. Kelly has confirmed that both programs are at risk of ending under the Trump administration.
Recently, Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA), which would have offered the parents of U.S. citizens (or permanent residents) protection from deportation, was scrapped after a very lengthy legal battle with a lawsuit brought forth by the states of Texas, Arkansas, Alabama, Idaho, Kansas, Louisiana, Nebraska, South Carolina, Tennessee, and West Virginia. Now, those same states have started to urge the Trump administration to do away with DACA or they will adjust their lawsuit to directly attack DACA, according to The Washington Post.
The risk of losing DACA stems directly from the lawsuit and not from any action from the Department of Homeland Security, according to The Washington Post. It is being reported that Kelly is in favor of the program that gives some 800,000 immigrants in the U.S. work permits but the legal challenge might be too much for DACA to withstand in court. Kelly delivered the news to the Congressional Hispanic Caucus in a closed meeting and did not give an interview after the meeting.
“This is what he’s being told by different attorneys, that if it goes to court it might not survive,” DHS spokesman David Lapan told The Washington Post after Kelly broke the news to the Congressional Hispanic Caucus.
Representative Luis Gutierrez spoke to the press after the meeting and confirmed the shaky future of DACA. Gutierrez himself appeared visibly upset after leaving the meeting according to a photo he tweeted out of him talking with reporters.
“I think we have to prepare for the worst and get ready to fight mass deportation,” Gutierrez said in a press release. “We showed up at airports to fight the Muslim and Refugee Ban and now DREAMers and people who have lived here legally for decades with TPS are in imminent danger.”
Check back for updates from mitú about this story as it continues to develop.