Secretary of Homeland Security Elaine Duke stated that the courts would have overturned DACA, and so the administration was trying to “wind the program down in an orderly fashion that protects beneficiaries in the near-term while working with Congress to pass legislation.”
Current DACA recipients can keep their benefits, like stay of deportation and employment authorization, until they expire, the Department of Homeland Security said. For those who have applied for the program but have an “initial request pending,” or those who have requested a renewal of their DACA status, their approval will be judged by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services on a “case-by-case basis.”
Information of persons gathered by USCIS in DACA cases will “generally” not be shared with Immigrations and Customs Enforcement, DHS said, “unless the requester poses a risk to national security or public safety, or meets the criteria for the issuance of a Notice To Appear or a referral to ICE under the criteria.”
The bishops, in their statement, called on Congress to pass a law to protect the immigrants who would have been eligible for DACA, and promised to continue advocating for DACA youth.
“We strongly urge Congress to act and immediately resume work toward a legislative solution,” the bishops stated. “As people of faith, we say to DACA youth – regardless of your immigration status, you are children of God and welcome in the Catholic Church. The Catholic Church supports you and will advocate for you.”
Other bishops also issued statements expressing disappointment in the Trump administration’s decision.
Archbishop Gomez, in a separate statement, said “as a pastor” that ending DACA would result in the possible deportation of 800,000 and would be “a national tragedy and a moral challenge to every conscience.”
“It is not right to hold these young people accountable for decisions they did not make and could not make. They came to this country through no fault of their own,” he said. “Most of them are working hard to contribute to the American dream — holding down jobs, putting themselves through college, some are even serving in our nation’s armed forces.”
Bishop Michael Burbidge of Arlington said that “while the issue of immigration is complicated … “offering special protection to those who only know the United States as home is a reasonable measure of compassion.”
The White House promised advocacy groups it would not target DACA recipients for deportation, but would instead prioritize criminals, Alfonso Aguilar, president of the Latino Partnership for Conservative Principles, told CNA. He added, however, “the guarantee that they wouldn’t be deported is gone.”
Additional hurdles and problems would be created for persons who would have been eligible for DACA, he said. “They won’t have an employment authorization document, and so many would lose their job. It would create a lot of practical problems for DACA recipients.”
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There is a “window of opportunity” for a solution, he said. DACA will not end for another six months, and Congress could pass the Dream Act or similar legislation in the meantime, but Trump would have to support it to give cover for conservative members of Congress, he said.
Hundreds of protesters gathered in front of the White House Tuesday morning to protest the administration’s announcement.
Carlos, 31, of northern Virginia, told CNA he currently works two jobs to pay for his college tuition and is nine months from finishing school. Without his degree, he would not be able to pursue a nursing career, he said.
“DACA protects young immigrants like myself to achieve their full potential,” he said. “The young people of this country are the future, we are the future of America. And everyone that has a dream, everyone that has a purpose that wants to help someone is also a dreamer, not just myself.”
“Dreamers” are not asking for handouts, Edvin, another immigrant protesting the end of DACA, told CNA.
“I came to this country with nothing,” Edvin said, “now I’m trying to give something back to this country. I am a business owner, I became a home owner, and I contribute to this country.”