What you need to know: Trump administration announces end to DACA

Lydia Taylor

The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, program that began in June 2012 under former President Barack Obama, is coming to an end, the Trump administration announced Tuesday in Washington.

The program allows undocumented immigrants who are minors — otherwise known as “Dreamers” — into the U.S. with a two-year work permit and two years of deferred action from deportation.

Guidelines to apply for DACA

  • Must have been 31 years old or younger when DACA went into effect in 2012
  • Must have come to the country before 16 years old
  • Must have resided in the U.S. since June 15, 2007
  • Never convicted of a felony, have less than three misdemeanors and pose no threat to national security
  • Must be currently enrolled in school, or have graduated with a GED or have a certification of completion
  • Can also be a veteran of the Armed Forces or Coast Guard

Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the dismantling of the program, and said the program is an “open-ended circumvention of immigration law through unconstitutional authority by the executive branch.”

The Department of Homeland Security announced those who currently have work permits can remain in the U.S. until it expires, but it will no longer accept new applications for the program.

If a permit expires before March 5, 2018, Dreamers will be able to renew the permit up until Oct. 5, which will allow them to remain in the U.S. for an additional two years, according to the DHS website.

The DHS also stated the applications it has already received prior to the announcement will be reviewed in an appropriate manner and considered for the program.

Eric Mansfield, Kent State’s executive director of University Media Relations, released a statement Tuesday in response to the Trump administration’s announcement:

“Kent State University will explore every option to support DACA students who call our campuses home. We are committed to all students who seek to complete their education on their way to making a positive impact on the world.”

Kent State allows Dreamers to enroll as international students, but they can also apply for the cost of in-state tuition along with over 400 scholarship programs.

Dreamers in the program who wish to achieve an education at any university in the U.S. must have graduated from a public, private or secondary high school. If they haven’t graduated, they must be currently enrolled, according to the DHS website.

Since 2012, there are nearly 800,000 dreamers in the U.S., according to data from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. 

In previous years, Congress tried to turn DACA into a law rather than a program.

An example of this was the DREAM Act. The bill first came to the Senate floor in August 2001. It was denied and has since been reintroduced several times, but never passed.

Since the Trump administration’s decision to wait six months to end DACA, Congress has time to decide to act on it. Trump called on Congress in a series of tweets, encouraging them to review the program.

President Trump’s Tweets:

Obama responded to the decision Tuesday afternoon, and said it was “a political decision,” as well as a moral one. He stated no matter the opinions Americans have toward immigration, “we shouldn’t threaten the future of this group of young people who are here through no fault of their own, who pose no threat, who are not taking away anything from the rest of us.”

In an interview with President Beverly Warren in January 2017, she said the university will continue to protect all students, including those in the DACA program, to the best of its ability.

“These students are great, great contributors here in the United States. The fact that we value their opportunity to value an education leads to many of the those students remaining and being productive citizens in the United States,” Warren said in the interview.

“Our rule has been (the same as that) of the inter-university council presidents, and went on record and wrote a letter to our representatives of Congress, and say that we are in support of DACA students and continuing to permit DACA students to engage in our learning environments and higher education.”

Lydia Taylor is the editor. Contact her at [email protected].