The continued failure to deliver for Dreamers, on an issue that 80-plus percent of the public supports, is a damning indictment of Washington’s dysfunction and misplaced priorities and a testament to why change is needed in November. While the courts’ injunction has provided a temporary reprieve and continued protections for some current DACA recipients, the larger Dreamer population and the country as a whole still desperately needs a permanent legislative solution for immigrant youth.
A new Washington Post article by Antonio Olivo, “Undocumented and old enough for DACA, but too late to apply,” offers a reminder that tens of thousands of immigrant youth who have grown up in America are becoming teenagers who would have been eligible to apply for DACA – but now have nowhere to turn as a result of Trump’s decision to end DACA and the continued failure of elected officials to deliver a solution.
As the Post article highlights, the “Migration Policy Institute estimates that there are 120,000 immigrants brought to the United States illegally as children who would turn 15 and become eligible for DACA protections over the next four years.” Through the lens of several DC-area teens, the article describes how these teenagers don’t have opportunities for a work permit, protections from deportation, or other opportunities afforded through the DACA program or permanent legal status.
The story, which we excerpt below, is a must-read reminder why we need to resolve Dreamers’ urgent crisis – and elect more Members who agree:
Adolfo Martinez’s college plans always included applying for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, the Obama-era program that would allow him to qualify for in-state college tuition in Maryland and a work permit.
But he didn’t apply as soon as he turned 15, the age of eligibility. The $495 application fee was hefty, and he was only in ninth grade.
Then the Trump administration stopped accepting new applicants, as part of its plans to phase out DACA, which President Trump and his top deputies call an illegal example of executive overreach.
A federal judge has ordered the government to continue renewing permits for the estimated 690,000 young immigrants already in the program while a legal challenge to ending it is pending.
The court ruled that the government does not have to accept new applications, however, leaving Martinez — now a 16-year-old high school sophomore — and potentially thousands of other immigrants in limbo as they edge closer to adulthood.
“I’m not quite sure what to do now,” said Martinez, who is captain of the lacrosse team at his Baltimore County high school and wants to become a civil engineer. “I had planned on applying as soon as possible.”
The Migration Policy Institute estimates that there are 120,000 immigrants brought to the United States illegally as children who would turn 15 and become eligible for DACA protections over the next four years.
Immigrant advocates say that pool of people illustrates the need for a legislative replacement for DACA, an idea that has stalled multiple times in Congress and was left out of the spending dealreached on Capitol Hill on Thursday to avoid a looming government-shutdown deadline. Lawmakers appear unlikely to focus again on the issue anytime soon…