The first of the so-called “dreamers” arrested under the Trump administration now faces deportation. Is this immigration enforcement business as usual or something new?
Daniel Ramirez Medina’s parents brought him to the US when he was only seven years old. According to his lawyers, he settled in California, attended school there, worked and grew into a young man. He now has a three-year-old son of his own.
The 23-year-old also applied for and was granted Deferred Action Childhood Arrival (DACA) status. The 2012 Obama administration programme allows undocumented immigrants who were brought here as children to remain in the country.
Who are the “Dreamers”?
There are millions of immigrants in the United States who might be, or might become, eligible for DACA (Deferred Action Childhood Arrival), an initiative for unauthorized youth brought to the U.S. as children.
Within this population of potential beneficiaries, however, are three distinct groups:
- Those who are between the ages of 15 and 30 who are either in high school or already have high school diplomas. This group is immediately eligible for deferred action.
- Those between the ages of 5 and 14 who will be eligible at some point in the future if the deferred action initiative remains in place.
- Those between the ages of 15 and 30 who are not in high school and don’t have high school diplomas. Members of this group might be eligible for deferred action if they get a GED.
Despite this situation, Medina was arrested on 10 February and is facing deportation after an immigration raid on the home where he was staying in Washington state.
The government says he is a gang member. Medina’s lawyers say they are lying. And all across the country hundreds of thousands of other Daca recipients are wondering what this means for them.
At a press conference on Thursday February 16, President Donald Trump delivered a mixed message about Daca, saying both that he has sympathy for the roughly 750,000 recipients, but adding not all of them may be worthy.
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