ST. PAUL, Minn. - The Trump administration has announced that it will phase out the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA, over the next six months.
So, what exactly does that mean for the immigrants who call Minnesota home?
Ana Pottratz Acosta, an assistant teaching professor at Mitchell Hamline School of Law, has spent the day delving into that question.
"What we know as of right now is that the program is being terminated immediately for new applicants," she said.
There's good news for people who have initial applications or renewal applications pending, though.
"The Department of Homeland Security has indicated they will continue to process those applications and hopefully approve most of them in the coming months," she said.
Also, DACA recipients, or "Dreamers," with a work authorization expiring before March 5 can file for a two-year extension.
"For anyone whose work permits expire after March 5, so March 6 or after, unfortunately you won't have the opportunity, according to the guidance I've read, to extend your work authorization again," she said.
But don't expect mass deportations come March 6. For one thing, those work permits will expire on a rolling basis. For another, Pottratz Acosta, other experts, and even the president say Dreamers without a criminal record will not jump to the top of the immigration enforcement list.
"But that said, even if they're not being actively removed from the country, this is still going to turn their lives upside down, because their ability to work has been taken away."
Pottratz Acosta said the concept of DACA recipients taking jobs from American workers is not based on fact.
"All of the data that we have shows that DACA recipients are filling positions that need to be filled," she said.
And as for what's next, it all comes down to Congress, which, this professor notes, could prove more positive than most people think.
"I'm hopeful that the silver lining of this decision today, is that it will be the one thing that will light a fire under Congress and finally get them to create a permanent solution for Dreamers," she said.
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