DACA Recipients on the Thin Line Again


July 9th, 2020

OMAHA – The Trump administration threatens again, to terminate the executive order Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals or DACA.

DACA recipients are often referred to as Dreamers, after a piece of legislation called the Dream Act introduced in 2001. The dream act would have given to dreamers, a path to American citizenship as well as protection from deportation.

“When I heard about the decision from the Supreme Court, it felt bitter-sweet. There is a sound of safety for my friends and family and, I also thought about students who were not able to apply for DACA for whatever reason. Now they will be able to have a future after they graduate from UNO,” Maria Marquez, says.

Maria Marquez, DACA recipient. Arrived to Omaha when she was six years old.

Marquez is a dreamer that came to Omaha when she was 6-years-old. After graduating from UNO in 2015, she has been working with minority students, helping them to achieve a college degree.

In June, the supreme court ruled in favor of DACA mostly because of two subjects.

First, not only Dreamers but their families and employees will be seriously affected if DACA ended.

Second, the executive branch also has the authority to deport or protect from deportation. The Supreme Court decided that granting a working permit and protection from deportation for Dreamers is not illegal, as the trump administration claimed.

“So my guess is that, the administration will try to at least address these two issues, try to provide more explanation analysis as why they feel why the program should be terminated,” Anna, Deal, says.

Deal, grew-up in Seattle, WA, moved to Omaha in 2013. She is Director of Legal strategy for the Immigrant Legal Center.

Anna Deal, Director of Strategy for the Immigration Legal Center. Via Zoom.

The Immigrant Legal Center in Omaha is a non for profit organization, providing legal service to low income immigrants in Nebraska and western Iowa.

This organization is actively working with community leaders to advocate for the passage of clean path to citizenship for Dreamers.

In 2018, Nebraska joined other states in a lawsuit, seeking a court order to end DACA. This lawsuit is ongoing and potentially could end DACA.

“I think we will be putting out a call l to action for folks to contact their elective representatives and our Nebraska attorney general and express disapproval of the participation on that lawsuit,” Deal, says.

The recent Supreme Court ruling in favor of DACA, reinstated the executive order on its entirety.

According to the Migration Policy Institute, about 1,100 DACA eligible individuals in Nebraska who did not have DACA as of March 2020, will be able to apply.

“USCIS the agency that adjudicates DACA application, has not put any guidance or instructions on their website today or put any information out about how to file those initial applications, or any indication that they will be accepting initial applications” Deal, said.

The pandemic it is also, slowing down any process from United States Citizenship and Immigration Service or USCIS.

In March, USCIS suspended all biometric appointments and opened again with many restrictions in mid-June. Dreamers in process of renewals have been strongly affected, and their work permits have been delayed.

The Immigrant Legal Center is advocating for clean path to American citizenship for Dreamers. Other organizations want to ensure that people cast their votes in the upcoming elections, which it could make a meaningfully difference for Dreamers.

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