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The Trump administration’s announcement Tuesday morning ordering the end of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals - a program that helps unauthorized immigrants receive work authorization and protection from deportation - affects hundreds of thousands of people across the country.
Although President Trump urged congress to come up with a solution moving forward, the big question revolves around the implications of the decision.
9News verified how the end of DACA will affect Colorado and its residents.
WHAT WE FOUND
According to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services data as of March, nearly 790,000 undocumented immigrants, also sometimes referred to as “dreamers,” have received work authorization and protection from deportation through the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. DACA was created through an Obama-era executive action in August 2012.
Around 17,000 total recipients – or 2 percent of all “dreamers” - were approved in Colorado.
There were another around 14,000 renewals total in the state.
Colorado is 12th in the nation for total initial and renewal approvals. The top states for total approvals include California, Texas and New York.
According to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services data as of March of last year, there were nearly 800 more initial approvals and almost 3,000 approved renewals in Colorado.
César García Hernández, an associate professor at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law, said the U.S. is the only home many of the immigrants know.
“It’s fantasy to believe that suddenly they’re going to get up and leave and relocate to another part of the world that many of them have never called home,” García Hernández said.
TOP COUNTRIES OF ORIGIN
According to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services data, around 618,000 DACA approved people to date have Mexican origins.
The number of people arriving to the U.S. from Mexico substantially outweighs other places around the world.
“Any place in the United States that has a large Mexican immigrant population, including Denver and the Front Range, is significantly impacted by the decision to rescind DACA that was announced today,” García Hernández said.
Mexico is followed by El Salvador at around 28,000 people, Guatemala at nearly 20,000 people and Honduras at around 18,000 people.
WHAT DACA RECIPIENTS CONTRIBUTE
According to an Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy study earlier this year, DACA enrollees contribute an estimated 1.6 billion dollars a year in state and local taxes.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services lists guidelines people must meet to request DACA.
One of guidelines requires the applicant currently be in school, graduated or earned a certificate of completion from high school, a GED certificate, or be an honorably discharged veteran of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States.
García Hernández said the administration’s decision will make life more difficult for everyone.
“We’re not going to be able to benefit from their economic productivity and the innovation.”
WHEN DACA EMPLOYMENT AUTHORIZATION DOCUMENTS EXPIRE
According to the Department of Homeland Security:
- From August through December 2017, the EADs of more than 201,000 people are scheduled to expire. Of these people, more than 55,000 have submitted requests for renewal of DACA.
- In 2018, more than 275,000 people will have their EADs expire. Of these people, more than 7,000 have submitted requests for renewal.
- From January through August 2019, nearly 322,000 people will have their EADs expire. Of these, only eight have submitted requests for renewal of DACA to USCIS.
“Due to the anticipated costs and administrative burdens associated with rejecting all pending renewal requests, USCIS adjudicate—on an individual, case-by-case basis—properly filed pending DACA renewal requests and associated applications for Employment Authorization Documents from current beneficiaries that have been accepted as of September 5, 2017, and from current beneficiaries whose benefits will expire between September 5, 2017 and March 5, 2018 that have been accepted as of October 5, 2017,” according to the department’s website.
However, when it comes to enforcement actions, García Hernández said he does not think people should be concerned about ICE agents utilizing information from the DACA application database.
“I do not see them having the money and staff to make that possible, so I don’t think that is a realistic concern,” García Hernández said. “But in statements made by DHS, once these young people lose their DACA protections, they will be treated as unauthorized immigrants.”
García Hernández said people should remember no one who had DACA yesterday is losing it today.
“It’s important not to make any rushed decisions, whether that’s by employers, whether that’s by DACA recipients, or whether that’s by other community members.”