Even though federal courts have ordered the Trump administration to continue processing Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program renewals, many Dreamers are liable to find their protections expire.
The problem, writes Politico.com, stems from policies implemented by the Department of Homeland Security. The agency refuses to process applications based on urgency and impending expirations.
DACA provides temporary, renewable work permits for young adults who arrived into the United States illegally and as children. Since President Trump formally rescinded the program in September, its recipients have faced an increasingly uncertain future.
While the threat of deportation isn’t as imminent as it was in autumn, some Dreamers may lose their ability to work on American soil. Immigration advocates speculate that the Department of Homeland Security’s decision to process renewals in the order they were received – rather than starting with near-expiry requests – could cost recipients their careers and lead to arrest.
“You can’t just say, ‘Don’t show up to work and we’ll kind of keep paying you,’ or ‘wink, wink, nod, nod,’” said Todd Schulte, president of pro-immigration website FWD.us. “I just think we should assume that a ton of these people are going to lose their jobs.”
Before the program was pulled, it protected some 600,000 young people from deportation, allowing them to pursue education, seek out careers, and join the U.S. Armed Forces.
According to Politico.com, the Department of Homeland Security wouldn’t comment on its enforcement policy for Dreamers with recently expired DACA permits. Some 13,000 people have grants which will expire in March – the month President Trump demanded Congress take action by.
Capitol Hill has so far been slow to act. POLITICO lays part of the blame on lawmakers themselves.
When San Francisco-based U.S. District Court Judge William Alsup ordered that the Department of Homeland Security resume DACA renewals, the decision took some pressure off legislators. A much-heralded immigration debate in the Senate failed to bear any results in mid-February, with senators failing to pass a single resolution.
While the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services began processing DACA renewals in January, the transition back to normalcy hasn’t always flowed.
“When you have a lot of stopping and starting of activity,” said Leon Rodriguez, head of the USCIS, “that poses some risk that something might be set up the wrong way and some group of people not be handled as expeditiously as they should.”
“I think it’s going to keep getting more chaotic,” said Rodriguez.
Ali Noorani, executive director of the National Immigration Forum, agreed.
“I think there will continue to be disruptions,” Noorani said. “There are going to be thousands of DACA recipients who are going to be scrambling to file their renewal applications.”