Eight years after President Obama announced DACA, Dreamers are more indispensable than ever
Among the beneficiaries of DACA and TPS, the country has more than 300,000 essential workers who may be key to economic recovery from the pandemic.
These past few months have been distressing for all of humanity, with an aggressive pandemic claiming the lives of over half a million people.
For undocumented immigrants in the country, the situation is doubly worrying.
Since the Trump administration challenged the continuation of the Deferred Action Program for immigrant youth arriving in the country as children (DACA), and after it revoked Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for citizens of El Salvador, Haiti, Nicaragua and Sudan, hundreds of thousands of people in the country have been living in constant anguish over their future status.
According to Politico, the Supreme Court is expected to rule on the fate of the DACA program in the coming days, which could put around 700,000 people at risk of deportation.
The decision, however, may not be final.
“A Supreme Court decision necessitating Congress to act would add another monstrous task to its to-do list this year, while also thrusting lawmakers into one of the thorniest political debates just months before they, and President Donald Trump, are on the ballot,” the media explained.
Between a possible police reform bill and negotiations on the next coronavirus aid package, Congress may have more on its hands than it can resolve in time.
Rep. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), who has long advocated for immigration reform, predicted that Congress would do nothing if the Supreme Court overturned the program. That would cause hundreds of thousands of people in the DACA program to be deported if the White House and Trump do not intervene.
"Not with this McConnell Senate. It's unlikely that we will do anything to help these young people,” Durbin said, referring to Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
But for some lawmakers, the GOP's narrow-mindedness leaves out how much the Dreamers could do for the nation's economic recovery from the pandemic.
As Reps. Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-Calif.), Nydia M. Velazquez (D-N.Y.) and Yvette D. Clarke (D-N.Y.) wrote in an opinion column for The Hill, the road ahead after the impact of COVID-19 on the country is "long and hard," and the key is "supporting our small businesses that are the engines of our national economy.”
The representatives refer to the hundreds of thousands of immigrants, entrepreneurs, and businesswomen and men, as well as doctors, delivery people, cashiers, and farmers who have kept the country going.
" More than 200,000 DACA recipients and 130,000 TPS beneficiaries work in jobs that the Department of Homeland Security recognizes as essential to the critical infrastructure of the nation," they explained, stressing the urgency of passing H.R. 6, better known as The American Dream and Promise Act, which would guarantee a path to citizenship to the hundreds of thousands of immigrants who are critical to the U.S. economy.
"The reality is that the threat facing Dreamers and TPS holders is an entirely avoidable crisis that impacts millions of Americans in mixed-status households," concluded the representatives.
“More than half a million U.S.-born children have a parent protected by DACA or TPS, and more than 2 million individuals live with a family member covered by one of these programs. And while there is broad bipartisan support for protecting these communities, their lives have been continuously thrown into chaos due to the actions of the Trump administration.”