Since September 2017, when President Donald Trump started dismantling the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA), some 690,000 young adults across the country have been living in a state of flux from news cycle to news cycle.
Over the next few days you’ll meet several of these young people from New Mexico and North Carolina who already form part of the nation’s workforce as youth service professionals. We looked at how the potential end to DACA would affect not just them, but their communities, in three stories, three main videos and two shorter videos from students at the University of Southern California Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism.
These Dreamers, as they are called, are passionate about using their skills of mentoring and counseling to develop the next generation of leaders in their communities. But without DACA, they face an uncertain future and nowhere to call home.
DACA is an Obama-era program that began in 2012. It protected from deportation undocumented immigrants who had been brought into the country as children and allowed them to work legally. To become Dreamers, recipients had to be in school, working or be in the armed forces. They also had to have reasonably clean criminal records.
DACA is not a legal status — it doesn’t offer a path to citizenship. Dreamers are treated differently depending on what state they live in. New Mexico, for example, offers Dreamers in-state tuition, but North Carolina doesn’t.
Regardless, DACA does grant all Dreamers a temporary reprieve from deportation and a permit to work legally in the United States. The protections last for two years, after which immigrants have to file for renewal.
When the Trump administration made the announcement late last year, it meant that no one new would be protected under DACA. It gave Dreamers a 30-day window to renew their status until Oct. 5. Trump has demanded a legislative solution for DACA by March 5, when the program officially expires.
With the stakes mounting as the program’s expiration date nears, the future for Dreamers is an uncertain one. Stay tuned for the rest of our package in North Carolina and California.