President Trump’s campaign promise to deport 3 million undocumented immigrants has many living in fear, in particular, young immigrants living in the US illegally. However, he’s signaled that DACA recipients are not a priority for deportation.
President Trump has expressed sympathy towards young undocumented immigrants and his administration is currently accepting DACA applications.
Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) is an executive action put in place under the Obama administration that protects undocumented immigrants who came to the United States at a young age. Specifically, it provides 2-year protection from deportation and the right to work. Currently, 700,000 young people are protected under DACA.
White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer told reporters that the president “understands” the situation that undocumented students are in.” White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus stated that President Trump has no immediate plans to use his executive powers to undo DACA.
“I think we’re going to work with the House and Senate leadership, as well as to get a long-term solution on that issue,” Priebus told “Fox News Sunday.” “I’m not going to make any commitments to you, but … I’m obviously foreshadowed there a little bit.”
Regardless, many undocumented immigrants are still living in fear. Trump’s recent executive orders on immigration have given more power to immigration enforcement officers. The Obama administration prioritized the deportation of undocumented immigrants who threatened public safety or national security, had ties to criminal gang activity, committed serious felony offenses or were habitual misdemeanor criminal offenders. Trump’s order extends that, using only the broad definition of “criminal” to define a threat to public safety.
Many experts say this definition could apply to any undocumented immigrant.
Fear among the undocumented community heightened last week with the deportation of an undocumented Arizona mother of two who was making a routine visit with immigration officials. Numerous deportations were made throughout the country as well.