The dehumanizing DACA standstill
Los Angeles Blade
by Navid Dayzad
February 20, 2018
Millions of undocumented individuals currently live in the United States who struggle to live, work and provide for their families. Among these individuals are young people brought to the U.S. as children. These folks struggle to find their place in a country that has demonstrated a growing fear and distrust of immigrants. For young LGBT immigrants, this struggle only amplifies the issues they already face as an often-marginalized group dealing with their own sexuality, identity and gender.
Yet, as the immigration debate rages on—now for over a decade—these young people find themselves as a political bargaining chip, leaving them feeling fearful of the future and their place in society.
Due to a lack of bipartisan congressional support behind the DREAM Act, President Obama issued an executive order as a last resort in June of 2012, creating the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, also known as DACA.
DACA has provided nearly 700,000 individuals with work authorization and protected them against deportation. Immigration attorneys have long warned of the risks involved with DACA because the president rather than Congress created it. Yes, it provided young people with opportunities they would not have otherwise had, but with no guarantee that it would last or that a less immigrant-friendly president would not use the information DACA recipients willingly provided against them.
We now find ourselves in the DACA worst-case scenario: with a president who calls the home countries of these immigrants “shitholes” and ending DACA during his first year in office. Upon ending the program in 2017, the president kicked the can to Congress to create a permanent solution for DACA recipients. However, this request remains a tall order for a do-nothing Congress split on its approach to immigration. The battle wages on, but stuck in the middle are the people whose livelihoods and security are uncertain. LGBT DACA recipients feel this uncertainty even more acutely.