By Don Morgan
A decision by the Trump Administration last week is keeping hope alive for immigrants brought to Texas and the rest of the U.S. as children. But the news isn’t as good for their parents.
The Department of Homeland Security said it has rescinded the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans program, but is keeping the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals – at least for now. This means about 750,000 young people, often known as Dreamers, will not be targeted for deportation – but many of their parents are now at risk.
Thomas Saenz, president and general counsel at the Mexican American Legal Defense Fund, said he predicts these decisions will divide families.
“I would have expected an administration that believes in family to accompany this announcement with some acknowledgement of the need to protect the parents, family members of United States citizen kids,” Saenz said. “We did not get that.”
President Barack Obama created the DACA and DAPA programs in 2014. A group of states, led by Texas, challenged them in court. After a 4-4 ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court, DAPA never went into effect.
President Donald Trump promised during his campaign to rescind all the Obama immigration orders, but since his election, he has said he might not roll back DACA.
Saenz said immigrants registered under the programs have been in legal limbo since the split court ruling. Now parents are left with no protections while their children are still covered by DACA, but no one seems to know for how long.
“But I think the demonstrated unpredictability means that while this is, as of today, an indication that they won’t be changing the DACA initiative,” he said, “that could change tomorrow, next month, six months from now,”
Nationwide, there are about 750,000 children of immigrants registered in the DACA program. DAPA would have applied to as many as 4 million immigrants, but because of the stalemate in the courts, the program was never fully implemented.