DACA: Where We Stand and What Our Rights Are

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Alex Velazquez

Writer, photographer, dog lover, professional fangirl, tone-deaf music lover.

The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals was introduced by President Barack Obama in 2012 and since then has provided the opportunity of a permanent work permit to over 800, 000 individuals. The idea was to provide aid for people who had been brought to the U.S. as children and were by all means raised as Americans, but due to a broken Immigration system, were denied work after Graduating school and/or college. DACA was merely a band-aid over a bigger problem, but it was something, and it seemed like the beginning of something bigger and better.

Since the implementation of the Deferred Action, The United States has benefited economically. According to reports, DACA recipients have invested in various prominent industries, such as the Automobile industry, Real Estate, etc. thereby boosting contributions to America’s economic growth by the millions. So, while now Donald Trump and his supporters look down on us, they ignore the fact that the United States has been reaping all the benefits of our contribution to the economy. According to researchers, over the next decade, it is estimated that DACA recipients could potentially contribute $460.3 billion. In addition, it is estimated that the deportation of or refusal to renew work permits for these individuals could cost the U.S. $280 billion. In June, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton and 10 others presented Donald Trump with an ultimatum; get rid of DACA or we’ll sue. We all know what happened after that.

Unfortunately, the deadline for Deferred Action through Childhood Arrival has come and gone. If your renewal date is before or on March 5 2018, the last day to submit your paperwork was October 5th 2017. So, what now? Well, let’s start with your rights. Whether your permit has expired or not, in the event an ICE agent approaches you, here are some things you have the right to do:

Refuse to speak to any ICE agent

Refuse to open your door. Your home is not public property.

If you speak to them, you do not have to answer any questions regarding your birthplace or legal status. Pleading the 5th is your right as well.

You have the right to speak to a lawyer at any point during an encounter with ICE.

In case things escalate, call an attorney

If you are a parent, inform the ICE agent of this. At they’re discretion, they could let you go.

Carry your legal paperwork with you, always be prepared.

If an ICE agent is at your door:

Do not open the door.

Ask if they are Immigration or ICE agents.

Ask them what the purpose of their visit is.

Even if you open the door, that does not grant them permission to enter your home.

If they don’t speak your language, you have the right to an interpreter.

For the time being, we have no advancement and no updates on a DACA replacement, but both major political parties have presented a couple of bills, one of which presents a path toward citizenship. One is a revised DREAM Act, and the BRIDGE Act. The National Immigration law Center has provided a side-by- side comparison of both DREAM Act proposals. Read and review them. For constant and current announcements, follow Undocumedia.

Remember we have allies, and therefore, we have options. Being one of thousands of people affected by this decision has its own power, so stay involved, stay active in your community. For trustworthy causes and information on upcoming protests and current petitions, visit Documedia’s central hub site, they update regularly. Understandably, the pressure and stress of it all can trigger anxiety, so put your mental health first and contact your local crisis center if you need it.