US immigration: DACA and Dreamers explained

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The Trump administration is set to announce an end to Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) — President Barack Obama’s signature immigration policy, sources have told CNN.

The program to protect undocumented migrants who came to the United States as children from deportation was introduced in 2012. The White House says it will announce a decision on the program Tuesday.

Who’s participating in the program?

These are undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States as children, a group often described as Dreamers.

To be eligible, an applicant must have arrived in the US before age 16 and lived there since June 15, 2007. They cannot have been older than 30 when the Department of Homeland Security enacted the policy in 2012.

As of March 31, 2017, 787,580 people have been approved for the program since it began, according to government figures.

Mexico is by far the biggest country of origin, followed by El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras.

What does DACA do for them?

If their applications are approved by US immigration officials, DACA recipients can come out of the shadows and obtain valid driver’s licenses, enroll in college and legally secure jobs.

How long does the deferral last?

Under the DACA program, Dreamers can apply to defer deportation and legally reside in the US for two years. After that people can apply for renewal. By March 31, 240,700 people had applied for renewal in the 2017 fiscal year and nearly 800,000 renewals have been approved over the life of the program.

Where does the program stand now?

It’s unclear. Trump vowed to dismantle it on the campaign trail but has since signaled he might take a softer stance.

“DACA is a very, very difficult subject for me, I will tell you. To me, it’s one of the most difficult subjects I have because you have these incredible kids,” Trump said in February. “We’re gonna deal with DACA with heart.”

Earlier this summer 10 state attorneys general wrote to the president asking him to end DACA and giving him a September 5 ultimatum.

Two sources told CNN the plan set to be announced Tuesday is to have a six-month delay in any action regarding the program to allow Congress time to pass a fix through legislation that would allow the undocumented immigrants to stay in the country.

If Trump repeals it, is there any hope for Dreamers?

Some lawmakers have proposed a bipartisan measure that could protect Dreamers from deportation if Trump ends the program.

Why are people called Dreamers?

The term Dreamers comes from the proposed DREAM Act, which offered legal status in return for attending college or joining the military. It was first introduced in 2001 and the latest version was voted down in the Senate in December 2010.

Can you still be deported if you have been approved?

Yes. Immigration officials say this happens when a DACA recipient is found to be a threat to either public or national safety. About 1,500 people have had their deferral canceled due to a crime or gang-related activity or admission, according to Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Can Dreamers travel to other countries?

Yes, but they must fill out a form, pay $575 and be granted permission. Vacation travel is not permitted, but participants can leave for funerals, job assignments, school-related travel and other reasons.

What information and fees are required?

Applicants must provide evidence they were living in the United States at the prescribed times, proof of education and confirmation they are who they say they are. They must pass background, fingerprint and other checks that look at identifying biological features. The fee to request consideration of deferred action for childhood arrivals, including employment authorization and biometric services, is $495.

Where do I find out more about DACA?

There are answers to more complex questions on the website of the US Citizenship and Immigration Services.

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