What is DACA, and who are the Dreamers?
By Daniel J. McLaughlin
Barack Obama started his dream for undocumented immigrants, who were brought to America as children, in 2012, offering them protections so they could live and work in the United States.
Donald Trump wants to end that dream, and it could bring a nightmare for the 800,000 people who have benefited from his predecessor's programme.
The president wants to end the Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals (DACA) programme. He scrapped the programme in September last year, but Trump delayed enforcement to give Congress until March to find a replacement for recipients.
Obama attempted to pass the legislation for DACA in Congress several times to no avail, so he signed an executive order that ensured it would be enacted. The former president's executive action had strong public support, with 63 per cent of Americans backing the move. A more recent poll found that nearly two-thirds of Americans still favour the programme.
Trump repeatedly promised to end the programme on the campaign trail, calling it an "illegal amnesty". After leaving it untouched for most of his first year in office, the president's hand was forced by a group of Republican-led states. They threatened to "challenge the programme in the courts in front of a judge who had already blocked an expansion of DACA to parents of those individuals", according to CNN.
The programme allows recipients a stay of deportation for two years, as well as the ability to legally work and go to school in the US. In order to qualify for DACA, applicants under the age of 30 were required to submit personal information to the Department of Homeland Security, including addresses and phone numbers. They had to prove that they had lived in the country continuously since June 15, 2007, and that they had arrived in the US before the age of 16. Applicants had to pass an FBI background check, have a clean criminal background, and either be in school, recently graduated, or have been honourably discharged from the military, the BBC reports.
At the time of scrapping the programme, the Department of Justice said that no current DACA recipients will be affected by the decision before the end-date of March 5, 2018, but no new applications will be taken. All current DACA recipients will be able to stay until their individual two-year expiration date - and the DOJ offered a one-month window for all DACA holders whose permits expired before March 5 to apply for a renewal.
Barack Obama offered immigrants a chance to dream in the United States with DACA, but Donald Trump could be creating a nightmare for the hundreds of thousands of people who depend on it.