Local DACA supporters react to Trump administration ending DACA program

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The President's first announcement Tuesday sparked protests across the country, including Wichita. Young immigrants from the ICT are now worried they might be deported.

Hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants protected by DACA are now worried. Adan Navejas considers himself a Wichitan and an American.

His mother brought his family from Mexico to the United states when he was two years old. "My mom wanted to me and my two older brothers to do better than we would do back in Mexico," Navejas said.

Since DACA was implemented by the Obama administration, kids who came to the US have been living in the country under "lawful status." They've been able to get work visas and driver's licenses, and didn't have to worry about being deported. but DACA does not grant citizenship.

Navejas is now 18 years old, he goes to Butler community college and his dream is to become a nurse in America.


The program that protects young immigrants who were brought to the U.S. illegally as children or came with families who overstayed visas has been rescinded. But many questions remain about what will happen to the program's beneficiaries.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions said the program, known as the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals or DACA, will end in six months to give Congress time to find a legislative solution for the immigrants.

Local leaders released the following statements Tuesday:

Wichita State University President John Bardo:

Wichita State University stands with our students and the national higher education community on concerns raised about today's announcement from Washington throwing into question the future of immigrants brought to the United States as children.

Students registered under the DACA program are important contributors to Wichita State and add to the energy and intellect of our campus. Across Kansas and across the nation, the major professional associations in higher education and the presidents of research universities are supportive of DACA's continuation.

This isn't about a recent wave of immigrants. All students with registered DACA status arrived in the United States at least 10 years ago and were brought here by their families before their 16th birthdays.

 I will reach out to members of our Kansas Congressional delegation to offer my support for a reasoned and swift solution that will allow DACA students to remain at Wichita State University until graduation and pursue their lives and careers in Kansas, free from the fear of deportation.

Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt:

The Trump administration’s actions today return the issue to the only place constitutionally empowered to resolve it: The United States Congress. Congress has had more than five years to address this issue and has done nothing, but perhaps having a legal deadline, after which neither the president nor the courts will continue to turn a blind eye to unlawful executive actions, can motivate Congress to act.

Rep. Ron Estes:

“I support President Trump’s reversal of this unconstitutional Obama-era executive order.  This decision gives Congress time to fix our broken immigration system.  Congress can do this by securing our borders, reviewing our immigration process, and not providing amnesty to those who disregard our nation’s laws.”

ACLU of Kansas:

The ACLU of Kansas is deeply ashamed that our elected officials, including Attorney General Derek Schmidt and Secretary Kobach, were among the loudest voices calling for the termination of DACA. Now, as the fate of 800,000 young adults who call this country home lies in the hands of Congress, we urge our senators and representatives to stand on the right side of history and fight to protect Dreamers and our country’s foundation.

Rep. Roger Marshall: 

The young people covered by DACA are not just a statistic on a DHS report. These are friends of my children, brothers and sisters of babies I’ve delivered, and members of my community. They didn’t put themselves in this position, and my heart goes out to them.

The United States is in this position due to the unilateral approach the previous administration took toward enacting DACA. It is because of that one-sided approach that we now have uncertainty and inconsistency throughout the entire immigration system. Consistency should be the hallmark of American governance.

Our resources, especially as they pertain to deportation, must remain focused on getting rid of bad people who present a danger to the American citizen – not a young person who is here simply due to circumstance. To date, 787,000 young people have legally registered with the U.S. government, and showed their willingness to follow our laws. We cannot allow that information to now be used against them in reverse order.

We are having these conversations now in Congress. Just a month ago, a Democrat colleague of mine and I got a bipartisan group of freshmen Members of Congress in a room to discuss what we can do to move forward on bipartisan, thoughtful solutions to the crises many communities and families are now facing.

Congress must use legal, legislative avenues to figure out how to help these young people, so long as they follow our laws. My priorities on this issue have always been, and will remain, to secure the border and help develop a workable visa for our farmers and producers back home. We must do right by them, by these young people and the safety of the American public.

From the Associated Press, here's a look at the program and what happens next for the nearly 800,000 people in it who are allowed to work in the U.S. and receive protection from deportation.

WHAT IS DACA?

DACA was created by President Barack Obama in 2012 after intense pressure from immigrant advocates who wanted protections for the young immigrants who were mostly raised in the U.S. but lacked legal status.

The program protects them from deportation - granting them a two-year reprieve that can be extended and by issuing them a work permit and a social security number.

DACA recipients must have no criminal record, proof they were brought to the U.S. before age 16 and be under 31 when the program was launched but at least 15 years old when applying.

The application cost is nearly $500 and permits must be renewed every two years. The application and renewal process take several weeks.

DACA does not give beneficiaries legal U.S. residency. Recipients get temporary reprieves from deportation and permission to temporarily work.

WHY DACA?

Frustration grew during the Obama administration over repeated failures to pass the "Dream Act," which would have provided a path to legal U.S. citizenship for the young immigrants who ended up becoming DACA beneficiaries and became known as "dreamers."

The last major attempt to pass the legislation was in 2011.

Immigrant activists staged protests and participated in civil disobedience in an effort to push Obama to act after Congress did not pass legislation. DACA is different than the Dream Act because it does not provide a pathway to legal residency or citizenship.

WHY END DACA?

President Donald Trump was under pressure from several states that threatened to sue his administration if it did not end DACA.

They argued the order Obama issued creating the program was unconstitutional and that Congress should take charge of legislation dealing the issue.

Immigrant advocates, business leaders including the chief executives of Apple and Microsoft, clergy and many others put intense pressure on Trump to maintain the program but he decided to end it.

WHAT HAPPENS NOW?

Young immigrants already enrolled in DACA remain covered until their permits expire.

If their permits expire before March, 5, 2018, they are eligible to renew them for another two years as long as they apply by Oct. 5.

If their permits expire beyond that March date, they will not be able to renew and could be subject to deportation when their permits expire.

People who miss the October deadline will be disqualified from renewing their permission to remain in the country and could face deportation, although the Trump administration has said it will not actively provide their information to immigration authorities.

It will be up to Congress to take up and pass legislation helping DACA beneficiaries. One bill introduced this year would provide a path to legal permanent residency.

Many DACA beneficiaries say they worry they will be forced to take lower-wage, under-the-table jobs and will be unable to pay for college or assist their families financially.

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