Equity & Diversity

DACA Continues for Now, as Does Uncertainty for ‘Dreamers’

By Corey Mitchell — March 06, 2018 4 min read

For months, President Donald Trump cited March 5 as the deadline for determining the fate of DACA, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

But the U.S. Supreme Court’s refusal last week to intervene in a legal battle over DACA—which protects 690,000 undocumented immigrants from deportation and grants them work permits—is a temporary reprieve for the young adults brought to the United States illegally as children.

The court’s decision ensures DACA will remain in effect for recipients after the deadline originally set by Trump in September. It also extends an ongoing state of limbo for the undocumented immigrants popularly known as “Dreamers.”

Seeking to bypass a step in the appeals process, the U.S. Department of Justice had petitioned the Supreme Court to intervene in the case, allowing the Trump administration to bypass the U.S. Court of Appeal for the 9th Circuit, in San Francisco, in its bid to end DACA.

On immigration issues, the 9th Circuit has been a thorn in the side of the Trump administration, upholding injunctions against the president’s travel ban, an executive order that temporarily barred immigrants from six predominantly Muslim countries from entering the United States, and an executive order designed to deny federal funds to “sanctuary cities,” jurisdictions that decline to use their resources to help enforce federal immigration laws.

It’s not clear when the 9th Circuit will hear the latest Trump administration appeal—and the case could still eventually end up before the Supreme Court.

For the time being though, DACA-protected immigrants whose permits lapsed, or those with permits that will expire soon, may continue to apply for renewals.

Still in Limbo

In setting the September deadline, Trump said he wanted to give Congress six months to find a legislative solution to address the status of the young undocumented people who benefit from the program.

On the political front, the Supreme Court decision also takes some of the immediate pressure off lawmakers in Congress trying to pass immigration legislation, something they’ve tried and failed to do for more than a decade.

DACA remains a divisive issue on Capitol Hill despite the outpouring of public support from school and business leaders across the country who favor giving the Dreamers legal status.

In mid-February, the Republican-led Senate rejected a series of immigration bills—including one backed by Trump—that were designed to overhaul the nation’s immigration system.

While Trump publicly urged Congress to act and pass a bill that protects DACA recipients from deportation, he also used their fate as leverage to push priorities such as additional border security and tighter restrictions on family-based immigration.

But without a hard deadline and with less pressure on lawmakers, immigration advocates are concerned that negotiations on Capitol Hill could lose urgency.

As lawmakers plot their next steps, the fallout from the Trump administration’s policy is affecting student attendance and behavior in the nation’s classrooms.

The Washington-based Migration Policy Institute estimates that a quarter-million students have become DACA-eligible since President Barack Obama began the program in 2012 and that about 9,000 undocumented, DACA-protected teachers work in U.S. schools.

On top of that, millions of U.S.-born students in the nation’s schools are the children of undocumented immigrants, many of whom aren’t protected by DACA and are at risk for deportation.

A new national survey from the Civil Rights Project at the University of California, Los Angeles, found that 84 percent of educators have students who have experienced emotional or behavioral problems because they are concerned about immigration enforcement. Among those educators, 36 percent report that their students felt “nearly overwhelmed by fear and worry.”

Educators from 24 school districts in 12 states–Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nebraska, New Jersey, Oregon, Tennessee, and Texas–participated in the 14-question survey, which was administered online between late October and mid-January

Expiring Permits

In terms of what DACA means for undocumented immigrants, March 5 was merely a point that would have accelerated the end of the program. But that process actually began Sept. 5, 2017, when the Trump administration stopped accepting new applications.

That means eligible undocumented immigrants who turned 15 after that date still won’t be able to apply, and neither will immigrants who would have qualified for DACA but never applied.

Since then, roughly 120 immigrants per day have had their DACA-issued work permits expire because they were unable to apply in time for renewals, according to estimates from the Center for American Progress. The Migration Policy Institute estimated that the number of immigrants losing their protected status would speed up after March 5, with an average of 915 DACA permits expiring daily.

But because of a pair of recent court decisions, and now the Supreme Court’s refusal to hear the DACA case, that acceleration may not happen.

In January, a federal judge in California blocked the Trump administration’s efforts to end DACA and told U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to resume accepting renewal applications from immigrants who had DACA protection and lost it or are in danger of losing it. Then, in February, a federal judge in New York issued a similar injunction.

How many DACA recipients have been able to take advantage of the rulings is unclear. Citizenship and Immigration Services, the federal agency that oversees immigration policy, does not have data on how many renewal requests are coming in, said Steve Blando, an agency spokesman.

Related Tags:

A version of this article appeared in the March 07, 2018 edition of Education Week as DACA Continues for Now, as Does Uncertainty for ‘Dreamers’

Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Professional Development Webinar
Building Leadership Excellence Through Instructional Coaching
Join this webinar for a discussion on instructional coaching and ways you can link your implement or build on your program.
Content provided by Whetstone Education/SchoolMint
Teaching Webinar Tips for Better Hybrid Learning: Ask the Experts What Works
Register and ask your questions about hybrid learning to our expert panel.
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Families & the Community Webinar
Family Engagement for Student Success With Dr. Karen Mapp
Register for this free webinar to learn how to empower and engage families for student success featuring Karen L. Mapp.
Content provided by Panorama Education & PowerMyLearning

EdWeek Top School Jobs

2021-2022 Teacher (Districtwide)
Dallas, TX, US
Dallas Independent School District
[2021-2022] Founding Middle School Academic Dean
New York, NY, US
DREAM Charter School
DevOps Engineer
Portland, OR, US
Northwest Evaluation Association
User Experience Analyst
Portland, OR, US
Northwest Evaluation Association

Read Next

Equity & Diversity Opinion This Could Be the Moment to Help the Poorest Among Us: Our Nation's Children
Creating opportunity will take bold legislation, investments, and collaborative action, write Paul Reville and John B. King Jr.
Paul Reville & John B. King Jr.
4 min read
Silhouettes of people wearing face masks
ajijchan/iStock/Getty
Equity & Diversity Opinion The Scary Truth About Student Radicalization: It Can Happen Here
How do children grow into hate-filled adults? Researcher Amra Sabic-El-Rayess, a Bosnian genocide survivor, explains.
Amra Sabic-El-Rayess
5 min read
A Hooded teenager standing in a misty forest filled with spiderwebs
YorVen/E+/Getty<br/>
Equity & Diversity Why Are Black Teachers Being Vaccinated at Lower Rates Than Their White Peers?
The discrepancies are about more than vaccine hesitancy, says one union leader.
6 min read
A nurse prepares to administer a COVID-19 vaccine in London.
A nurse prepares to administer a COVID-19 vaccine. Teachers of color in the U.S. are being vaccinated at lower rates that their peers.
Kirsty Wigglesworth/AP-File
Equity & Diversity Opinion Which of My Students Were Freezing in the Storm?
As power outages gripped the state, a Texas teacher reflected on the stark opportunity gaps some students face year-round.
Holly Chapman
3 min read
Eithan Colindres wears a winter coat inside on Feb. 15, 2021 after the apartment his family lives in lost power following an overnight snowfall in Houston. With the snow and ice clearing in Texas after the electricity was cut to millions as temperatures plunged as people struggled to stay warm in their unheated homes.
Record-breaking cold and ice brought Texas electricity grids to the breaking point. Many families, including this one in Houston, struggled to stay warm in their unheated homes.
Brett Coomer/Houston Chronicle via AP