by Estefania Freig Gorrin
Francisco Diaz, a twenty-two-year-old Venezuelan immigrant, is affected by the recent threats to the DACA program.
DACA is an immigration policy created as an executive order by the Barack Obama administration in 2012. The program grants young people who entered the country illegally a renewable two-year period of deferred action from deportation, as well as eligibility for a work permit and college enrollment.
These minors are referred to as Dreamers. Frankie is one of 800,000 Dreamers now facing the repercussions of this potentially drastic policy change.
Their status is threatened by the awaited loss of the program that has been set in place by President Donald Trump. Trump promised the collapse of DACA during last year’s election, and is now on his way to fulfilling that promise. Since the program was created as an executive order, Trump has the power to remove the program immediately, but is giving Congress six months to come up with a legislative solution. This means that without a legislative plan, all Dreamers will lose their status by 2020.
Frankie, brought to Miami by his mother at the age of two, signed up for DACA four years ago, Frankie’s opportunity to work and provide for himself financially will be gone if nothing is done. His hopes for future academic endeavors, including a photography and marketing degree in the U.S., have also become an unrealistic dream.
Discouraged, Frankie hopes that the recent threats will raise awareness about the immigration problems that the country has been facing and that a better reform will be put in place.
Frankie and others in the program maintain their legality and DACA permits until the program’s expiration beginning March 2018.
Trump’s action follows his promises on the 2016 campaign trail. He said that his administration would “immediately terminate President Obama’s two illegal executive amnesties.” Trump’s main goal is to prioritize the benefits of U.S. citizens and not those of immigrants. DACA and its beneficiaries were criticized by Trump during a speech in August, 2016, when he said, “We want our children to be Dreamers too.”
Fifteen states announced plans to sue Trump and challenge his decision. His order has been called “cruel and unlawful” as well as “outrageous” and “not right” by Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson. The states that have announced their plans to sue to try to preserve DACA are: Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia and Washington. California filed a separate lawsuit.
Originally published at ccnyintroductiontojournalism.com on October 10, 2017.