What President Trump's Decision To Wind Down DACA Means For "DREAMers"

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Photo Credit: nyimmigrationlawyers.org

On Tuesday, September 5, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced that the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program will be terminated in six months and urged the U.S. Congress to pass replacement legislation before March 2018. The program, the result of a 2012 executive order by former President Barack Obama, shields young undocumented immigrants from deportation.

Under the law, any illegal resident who arrived in the U.S. before the age of 16 and was younger than 31 as of June 15, 2012, can apply for a two-year deferral from being considered for deportation. To be eligible, he or she must have never left the country, graduated from high school or served in the US Armed Forces, and never been convicted of a crime. Since the deferrals can be renewed and also include work permits, DACA effectively allows participants, or “DREAMers,” as they are often called, to live in the U.S. with no repercussions.

Photo Credit: Change.org

According to Sessions, the decision to terminate the program has no immediate implications for the estimated 800,000 “DREAMers.” Also, while no new applications have been accepted since the September 5 announcement, the estimated 200,000 people whose status expires before March 5, 2018 can request a two-year deferral if they send in their application by October 5, 2017.

However, should Congress fail to pass legislation to replace the executive order by March 5, 2018, deferral permits expiring after that date will be ineligible for renewal. If that happens nearly 300,000 people will lose their right to live in the country in 2018, and more than 320,000 will face a similar fate from January to August 2019. They would, therefore, be subject to deportation, and more importantly, be unable to legally work in the United States.

As one would expect, the reaction to the news has been mixed. Advocates believe that President Trump is doing the right thing by forcing Congress to either finally approve or reject the DREAM Act (Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act), that was first proposed in 2001. In fact when DACA was created, many politicians considered it a short-term measure to protect undocumented residents until a broader immigration bill was passed. However, while such a bill did pass the Senate in 2013, it was never approved by the U.S. House of Representatives.


Critics, however, disagree and believe it is cruel to deport these residents who arrived here at a very young age and consider themselves Americans. A survey conducted by a team led by Tom K. Wong of the University of California, San Diego indicates that DACA recipients are hard-working and make a significant contribution to the country’s economy. Mr. Barack Obama believes it's “basic decency” to allow the immigrants to live in America. The former U.S. leader says, “Whatever concerns or complaints Americans may have about immigration in general, we shouldn't threaten the future of this group of young people who are here through no fault of their own, who pose no threat, who are not taking away anything from the rest of us."

Hopefully, American politicians will set aside their differences and come up with a just and feasible solution to help the 800,000 “DREAMers, a significant number of whom are from Mexico.

Resources: Vox.com, PBS.org, Wikipedia.org, americanprogress.org

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VocabularyPlay Game

advocatescongressconvictedcriticsdeferraldeportationexecutivefeasiblehouse of representativesillegalimmigrantsimplicationsineligiblejustlegislationrecipientsrepercussionssenateterminateterminatedundocumentedurged

Reading Comprehension (10 questions)

  1. What did the U.S. Attorney General announce on September 5?
  2. Who created DACA and why?

Critical Thinking Challenge

Should DREAMers be allowed to become legal U.S. citizens? Why or why...


Vocabulary in Context

“On Tuesday, September 5, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced that the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program will be terminated in six months...

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  • uptown girlFriday, November 9, 2018 at 6:00 am
    this is bad
    • Medic TF2Thursday, October 25, 2018 at 7:46 am
      • jungkookie
        jungkookieThursday, September 6, 2018 at 9:47 am
        I feel bad for the Hispanics... :(
        • hai thereSunday, April 22, 2018 at 8:06 pm
          I'm a bit confused on this. Weren't America's founding father immigrants? plus why does he assume that only immigrants are doing all that bad stuff?
          • ajg15
            ajg15Thursday, August 30, 2018 at 1:24 pm
          • pass Tuesday, March 6, 2018 at 3:09 pm
            Understand he repealed DACA to give illegal immigrants U.S Citizenship and deport the ones who came here and committed a crime sure its sad that some of them are children but they've committed a crime and must be brought to justice otherwise if he was just deporting innocent people he would be impeached but he's not doing that.
            • CoolThursday, February 8, 2018 at 11:40 am
              how come Trump thinks it is a good idea to repeal DACA if it helped so may kids. Also I agree with Listen (read his comment below) how may kids have you actually learned of committed a crime and that is my point.
              • William Tuesday, January 23, 2018 at 5:41 pm
                They cannot let young children become orphans! Please let them stay!
                • SadThursday, January 11, 2018 at 8:02 am
                  why are they taking it away?!?! That is NOT fair what about all of those kids! Kids as young as two being separated from their families!!!!!!!!!!!!!
                  • ListenTuesday, January 9, 2018 at 2:57 pm
                    Good things it will only effect children who have come here illegally and have "COMMITED A CRIME" and poor innocent ones surely that would be unconstitutional and our president is better than that
                    • Braeden broningWednesday, November 29, 2017 at 9:57 am
                      I think that these people should be protected maybe help them get their illegal immigrant past

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