Fate of DACA a ‘ticking clock’ under hands of Congress

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Carolina Núñez says the fate of DACA is based on Congress’ will to compromise. Photo by Kim Bojorquez

Dreamers under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program have an uncertain future because the Trump administration has begun phasing it out, and has left it to Congress to come up with a law to take its place, according to a panel call, “DACA, What is at Stake?”

Panelists described the difficulty and uncertainty in the current immigration environment, especially with the DACA program, and the political delays that threaten the future for Dreamers, Oct. 4 in the Classroom Building.

Carolina Núñez, a professor of law at BYU, spoke about the legal and political factors that are contributing to the current immigration situation.

According to Núñez, a significant and beneficial action by Congress is not likely because any possible legislation will likely come with the requirement of additional actions such as border wall funding.

“I fear that compromise is not one Congress’ strengths,” Núñez said.

Núñez also described that time is limited for Dreamers because if Congress does nothing, DACA and the benefits in the program will run out in about two years.

UVU Dreamers were also present on the panel, and they explained their personal experiences with DACA.

Ani Gabrielson, a behavioral science senior, and Jazmin Garcia, a political science freshman, explained that although DACA is not a perfect program, what it does for immigrants who want to pursue education or legal employment is life changing.

Gabrielson described the dangerous environment her family lived in when she was young in Venezuela. Her parents brought her to the United States so that she could have a better, safer future.

Panelists also spoke about the high costs of DACA, which they estimated to be about $2000 for Dreamers, every two years. The panelists expressed hope that any legislation will fix the uncertainty and high costs of DACA, and that it will provide a reasonable path to citizenship.

No new applications for DACA are being accepted, and any applications for renewal were due to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services by Oct. 5, according the U.S. CIS website. From the date of the renewal, Dreamers will have two years until their legal status under DACA expires.

Panelists recommended that everyone try to be informed about the problem, which includes separating facts from myths about immigrants and the legal processes of immigration.