Government needs to take action and find replacement for DACA quickly

by Chance Page, Staff Writer

A three day government shutdown ended on Monday night when President Trump signed a continuing resolution that would fund the government until Feb. 8.

However, one of the central issues of the government shutdown — the fate of the almost 700,000 people currently registered under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program — remains unresolved.

Over the past few years, the DACA program has provided nearly 800,000 undocumented immigrants with protection from detainment and deportation, as well as authorization to work. This number includes 561,000 in California.

On Sept. 5,  the Trump administration ended the DACA program, leaving only a small window of 30 days for people who had attained legal status under DACA. Despite promises of a replacement of some kind from President Trump, and attempts at a bipartisan compromise, there has yet to be a solution that ensures those protected by DACA maintain their protections.

There are already large consequences for the failure to secure a DACA replacement. Almost 17,000 people have already lost their DACA protections — losing their ability to legally work and making them vulnerable to deportation.

Complicating matters is a recent federal court ruling that has temporarily restored the DACA program. While the federal government has agreed to accept new applications for now, they’ve also indicated their willingness to challenge the decision in court.

If the federal government does challenge the injunction forcing the continued existence of DACA, it appears likely that they would win. Given this uncertainty, and a large $495 fee attached for applying for DACA protections, it’s understandable why many people who qualify for DACA renewal may avoid applying during this brief window.

There needs to be a more permanent solution than a legally questionable federal injunction.

Admittedly, there will have to be considerable compromises in order to restore DACA. A bipartisan plan rejected by President Trump restored DACA protections and allowed for new enrollees, but required additional border security funding and significant limits imposed on immigration.

But the people who registered under DACA trusted the federal government with their information, in exchange for protection against deportation and being able to provide for themselves and their families. Before a more permanent budget is passed through Congress, there must also be a new agreement that restores protections of Dreamers and allows more undocumented immigrants

For those looking to make an impact in protecting immigrants, direct action can be taken, either by attending protests and rallies — as many did at SDSU after the Trump administration announced their initial rollback — or through contacting your Representative and Senators.

But you can also make an impact with your vote. Take note of not only Republicans who push for no DACA replacement, or one that doesn’t protect everyone, but also Democrats who cave in before securing a restoration of the DACA protections. The next election is fewer than 10 months away.