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Trump Administration Won’t Accept New DACA Applications

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The Trump administration says it will reject new applications and shorten renewal periods for an Obama-era program that shields young people from deportation. The move Tuesday is a defiant stance after the U.S. Supreme Court refused to let the administration end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

Speaker 1: 00:00 Last month DACA recipients and supporters cheered a Supreme court ruling that blocked the Trump administration's effort to kill the program. The deferred action for childhood arrivals system set up under president Barack Obama protects some 640,000 people from deportation and allows them to work legally. But now Donald Trump's acting secretary of Homeland security is restricting the program with an eye again toward ending DACA. Joining me is Delsa Garcia, a DACA recipient and San Diego immigration attorney, who was a plaintiff in the lawsuits before the Supreme court. Welcome back to midday edition. Thank you so much. Well, we spoke with you after the ruling, you were hopeful, the program would once again, be open to new applicants. What does this move by the administration mean for those who are looking forward to applying for the program?

Speaker 2: 00:48 Yes, unfortunately this is yet another attack by the administration against the DACA program. In generally speaking against our immigrant community from day one, this president threatened the DACA program and has attempted to, again, once more dismantle the DACA program, knowing that most Americans supported, uh, it's devastating, uh, as a DACA recipient, um, to hear that the administration is continuing efforts to dismantle a program that our livelihoods depend on. So it, what it really means is just yet another attack by this administration, with the clear messaging that it doesn't want us here in the U S

Speaker 1: 01:32 Now, given that renewals will not last just one year instead of two. What kind of barriers does that present for people in this program

Speaker 2: 01:39 For the administration to now come back and ask for us to renew our work permit every year, as opposed to every two years? Um, it's, it's going to be very difficult. We already have a difficult time coming up with the $500 to renew our work permit every two years, and now to come up with $500 every year to renew this work permit, it adds an extra layer of difficulty, um, uh, along with everything that we're experiencing right now, as a result of the world pandemic and the inability of this administration to address the problems that we're seeing on the ground specifically here on the border, and specifically with our immigrant community, it's clear that the numbers have dropped people that applied for the DACA program years ago are not necessarily all of them applying. And, and we know that finances is a big hurdle here in San Diego. We have various nonprofit organizations that are helping our community, but that's not to say that that these programs exist across the U S. And so DACA recipients, particularly in States that are not immigrant friendly, are going to have the most difficult time.

Speaker 1: 02:51 And didn't a federal judge in Maryland order the administration to admit new DACA applicants.

Speaker 2: 02:55 Yes. Um, and the administration has done everything to delay complying not only with the Supreme court order, but also complying with the Maryland orders. Um, that's exactly right. The Maryland, uh, courts did dictate to the DHS, um, and, uh, immigration service specifically to start accepting these applications. And instead the USDA and the DHS went ahead and issued this memo, um, stating very clearly that they're not going to be accepting new applications. Um, this is, this is, uh, this is a very shameful moment because, you know, you think that you take a case all the way to the Supreme court you win, and that the us government's gonna respect that, that the federal administration, um, receiving this order is going to respect the decision from the Supreme court. And, and that's, that's not the case. Obviously our efforts in court are gonna continue. Uh, we're gonna continue the litigation, um, here in California and the other teams in other jurisdictions as well. Our goal, I depress this issue, but it is a shame that, um, the Supreme court and the court in Maryland have, uh, indicated to DHS to follow these instructions and open the applications again, and they refuse to do so. So, um, that is one of the arguments we will be making this, um, idea that the DHS is in contempt of these orders

Speaker 1: 04:32 And the Supreme court's ruling that the administration didn't have the authority and the program, cause it didn't have proper legal justification. Uh, you concerned that that leaves the door open for the administration to find a way to entirely resend the program.

Speaker 2: 04:47 I think the administration is trying to figure out how to hurt us the most. And for now I think this, this is what this memo is about. This memo is very cruel and what it's doing, it's effectively cutting peop cutting off a lot of the programs. It's dismantling DACA in the sense that, um, it's, as it's applying burdens, for those of us that are already renewing it's, uh, outright denying you applications, it's making, you know, the possible for us to travel abroad with advanced Boral. Um, so this is a, an essentially a dismantling of the DACA program. It's not a complete ending of the program, but it's definitely an attack on it. And I think the government is trying to figure out how to end it completely, but because he was unsuccessful in doing so the first time around, I think that this is the best that they're gonna do.

Speaker 2: 05:40 Like, I think this is their best shot and they couldn't figure out how to get rid of the DACA program, knowing that it has existed successfully for so many years. Um, but I think that, um, this is not the end of it. I think we're going to take this memo is through the courts and we're going to win again. And they're going to try again, it's, especially from those folks that were, that had their applications in hand that were ready to apply for this program. They're devastated because the message that they're getting again, once more is, are not welcomed here.

Speaker 1: 06:15 Now, the immigration advocates have said DACA was never meant to be a permanent solution for young immigrants in the country. What is the end goal?

Speaker 2: 06:22 That's absolutely right. DACA is a compromise. We need permanent protection from deportation. And, and that in one way to get there is through the dream act. There is right now a dream and promise act that has passed already on the house and that the Senate it's specifically mission McConnell, uh, under the direction of Trump refuses to put on this on the Senate floor for a vote, we think it would pass. So that is, that's the only, that's the only way we're going to truly protect DACA recipients. And these youth is by, uh, allowing a path to citizenship, allowing us to be fully integrated into the country. Um, not by forcing us to pay a work permit every year, but by allowing a path to citizenship so that we have a say on who we elect. We definitely do have to make a change with the presidency and, and in the Senate in particular, the otherwise we're going to keep seeing attacks like this one against our immigrant community.

Speaker 1: 07:27 Well, it's an election year. We'll see what happens. I've been speaking with DACA recipient and immigration attorney. They'll say Garcia. Thanks very much. Thank you.

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Maureen Cavanaugh and Jade Hindmon host KPBS Midday Edition, a daily radio news magazine keeping San Diego in the know on everything from politics to the arts.