On September 5, 2017, President Trump ordered an end to the Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. This program shields some young undocumented immigrants —who often arrived at a very young age in circumstances beyond their control—from deportation. The President also urged Congress to pass a replacement before the administration begins phasing out DACA’s protections in six months. This means that as early as March 2018, some of the 800,000 young adults brought to the U.S. as children who qualify for the program, will become eligible for deportation and lose access to education and work visas.
In 2012, President Obama issued the DACA executive order after the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act did not pass in Congress several times. This was a temporary measure to tackle some of the needs addressed in the DREAM Act. It enables certain people who were brought the U.S. as children (and who meet several key guidelines) to request consideration for deferred action. DACA is largely seen as successful and has assisted young people in a variety of ways, including attendance in school, higher education, employment and getting drivers’ licenses. Further, voters overwhelmingly support allowing undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children to stay in the country.