DACA program will continue for now, but young immigrants in Denver now fear for their parents

Victor Galvan. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

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The federal government will not immediately try to deport the young, undocumented immigrants who are protected by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. However, the Trump administration says that DACA remains “under review.”

Roughly 28,000 people in Colorado and 800,000 people nationwide are protected by DACA. It allows people who arrived in the United States without authorization at a young age to get work permits and some degree of protection from deportation.

“It was surprising to actually see (President Donald Trump) come out with a clear statement that he wasn’t going to do anything about the program, that people could keep applying,” said Victor Galvan a campaign manager for Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition. But he and other DACA recipients fear for their parents now.

The Department of Homeland Security now says: “DACA recipients will continue to be eligible as outlined in the June 15, 2012 memorandum … No work permits will be terminated prior to their current expiration dates.”

Trump had promised during the presidential campaign to end the program. The New York Times describes this latest news as an official reversal, but the administration maintains that it’s still reviewing DACA.

However, because the program was created by an executive order, Trump retains the power to reverse it, and DHS told Politico that today’s news “should not be interpreted as bearing any relevance on the long-term future of that program.”

Victor Galvan. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite) immigration; daca; undocumented; denver; denverite; colorado; kevinjbeaty;
Victor Galvan. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

And even if DACA protections are preserved, immigrant families still face the possibility that parents and otherswithout DACA will be deported.

“It is relieving to see the announcement, but there’s still this resentment,” said Galvan, who is a DACA recipient. “We still have parents who are being targeted very, very heavily by his administration. It’s bittersweet. Although this may feel secure, the moment will come where the parents of undocumented people who have DACA will be put into deportation proceedings.”

Immigration arrests were up nearly 40 percent in the first months of the Trump presidency, according to the Chicago Tribune. About 11,000 of those arrested had no criminal convictions, double the number from a year earlier.

“People who don’t have criminal records, people who are normal, working-class citizens, they’re being targeted by this administration’s priorities, which is to catch anyone and everyone who’s undocumented, whether they’re a violent felon or a working mom who’s taking their kid to and from school,” he said.

“All of our parents fall into those categories.”

DHS also has officially ended Obama’s attempt to create a Deferred Action for Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) program, which would have extended similar protections to parents of legal residents and citizens. That proposal had been frozen in court.

Earlier coverage:

Denverite profiled seven of the roughly 28,000 Colorado residents who live under DACA.

 

 

Andrew Kenney

Author: Andrew Kenney

Andrew Kenney writes about public spaces, Denver phenomena and whatever else. He previously worked for six years as a reporter at The News & Observer in Raleigh, N.C. His most prized possession is his collection of bizarre voicemail. Leave him one at 303-502-2803, or email akenney@denverite.com.