With the case around the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program going before the Supreme Court in just weeks—and an administration eager for justices to end it—young undocumented immigrants are reporting increased fears of detention, deportation, and separation from their families, including U.S. citizen children, a new survey finds.
“The legal and political uncertainty surrounding DACA continues to weigh heavily on the minds of DACA recipients,” the findings said. “For example, 56 percent of respondents reported that they think about either being detained in an immigration detention facility or deported from the United States at least once a day; and an even greater percentage, 69 percent, reported that they think about a family member being detained or deported at least once a day.”
“Fear of family separation is particularly strong among DACA recipients who are parents. Among those with children, 75 percent reported that they think about ‘being separated from [their] children because of deportation’ at least once a day, while 72 percent reported thinking about ‘not being able to see [their] children grow up because of deportation’ at least once a day.”
The survey, conducted annually by the Center for American Progress, the U.S. Immigration Policy Center at the University of California, San Diego, United We Dream, and the National Immigration Law Center, continued to find that DACA is having beneficial effects on both beneficiaries and their communities. But, “for the first time,” the survey provided data on “widespread harms” should the Supreme Court side with the Trump administration and end it.
A decision could come by June 2020, smack in the middle of the presidential election. The House of Representatives has already passed legislation that would put DACA recipients, along with Temporary Protected Status beneficiaries, onto a path to citizenship, but it’s currently being blocked in the Senate by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. Donald Trump has also sabotaged bipartisan efforts, and tried to use Dreamers “as leverage to funnel more money into the deportation force,” United We Dream’s United We Dream’s Sanaa Abrar said.
“This year’s survey underscores what’s at stake this November when the Supreme Court considers the legality of the Trump administration’s termination of DACA,” said Phil Wolgin of the Center for American Progress. “Receiving DACA has allowed hundreds of thousands of people who arrived in the United States as children to care for their families, support their communities, and contribute to the economy … without DACA, many recipients fear what would happen if they were deported to a country they do not know and in which they have no immediate family.”