This week, we reported that YouTuber David Dobrik was one of the 800,000 people whose future has been thrown into uncertainty by the Trump Administration’s decision to roll back DACA – but what is DACA? And why is David affected? Here’s a quick and easy guide:
What is DACA?
Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, also known as ‘DACA’, is an American immigration policy. It affects undocumented immigrants who entered the US before their 16th birthday and before mid-2007. Under DACA, these young people, sometimes referred to as ‘Dreamers’ are allowed to work in the US and have to apply every two years for permission to stay in the country.
As of 2017 there are about 800,000 ‘dreamers’ in the US. Dreamers have to continually pay to maintain their status and have to pass a series of criteria (like not having a criminal record) before they are granted permission to stay. Most dreamers are in their early 20s or 30s.
What is it for?
The central idea behind DACA is that although these people came into the US without documentation, they did so as children and so to punish them seems unfair – especially as for many of them, the US is the only home they’ve ever known. While the US has tough immigration laws and will deport an adult for entering without documentation, a child who was brought to the US is viewed differently.
Where did it come from?
The Obama Administration established DACA in 2012.
What has happened now?
The Trump Administration has rescinded DACA, which is to say, cancelled it. They have provided a six month delay before the end of DACA will happen, to allow Congress time to work out what to do with the 800,000 young people.
Why have they ended DACA?
It is generally reported that there are not any real economic or social downsides to DACA, with some evidence showing that it actually improves the US economy. This move by the Trump Administration is more about appealing to the anti-immigrant sentiment of Trump and his supporters. Trump’s core supporter base supports the decision, but according to most major polls, a large majority of Americans disapprove of DACA ending.
What will happen when DACA ends?
Dreamers are not actually US citizens and many have no way to attain citizenship. DACA allows them to remain and work in the US, but in a state of limbo. If Congress does not sort anything out in the next sixth months (they could defy Trump and sign DACA into law), then according to FiveThirtyEight: “approximately 300,000 people with DACA will lose their legal status in 2018, as will at least as many more in 2019. And the remaining permits will expire in 2020.” Which would have huge and devastating affects on families, communities. It would also affect businesses, like Apple, which employees at least 250 dreamers.
Will David Dobrik be deported?
David will lose his right to live and work in the US if Congress does not make a decision on DACA in these next six months. This could end in him being deported to his native Slovakia.
Can’t David just marry Liza?
Despite the protections that DACA provides, when it is removed, the Dreamers will have almost no advantage for getting citizenship, despite living and working in the US. We’ve seen people in the comments of our news article saying David ‘should just marry Liza’. Aside from the fact that this would force them to get married earlier than they may like, it also isn’t the simple solution it may seem.
If David entered the country without documentation (ie across a border) he would have to marry, then have Liza petition the government to allow him to become a citizen. This would almost certainly involve him having to return to his home country and re-enter the US and would take months, if not years. It would also be very expensive. An assumption can be made, as he is covered by DACA, that he did enter the US without documentation, and so would be forced into this process.