DACA survives for now, but in New York, recipients are anxious

Dozens of DACA recipients and allies gathered in front of Sen. Schumer’s office in New York Wednesday to urge him to support a clean DREAM Act.

“The events of yesterday are distractions, and we need to continue to urge our Democratic leaders, especially Sen. [Charles] Schumer, of the urgency to pass a clean DREAM Act,” said Stephanie Park, a DACA recipient from South Korea, who is now a community organizer with Asian American Legal Defense & Education Fund.

Park was talking about the news that deeply concerned the undocumented immigrant community Tuesday.

DREAMers and allies organized a rally in front of Sen. Schumer’s office on Wednesday night

On Tuesday morning, Trump brought together lawmakers from both the House and the Senate to discuss a fix to DACA, attempting to find a solution for recipients who are at risk of deportation when their status expires since the Trump Administration took moves to end the program in September.

Hours after the meeting, a federal judge’s decision caught both sides by surprise. U.S. District Judge William Alsup from San Francisco blocked the Trump Administration’s decision on ending DACA. As a result, recipients who failed to renew their status by last year’s deadline now have a chance to submit renewal applications. However, no first-time DACA applications will be accepted.

Though some feel thankful for the decision, others like Maria Jose Guzman, a DACA student from Lehman College who came to the rally, said she was tired of temporary solutions.

“I don’t think this decision is helping,” said Guzman. “It’s just a band-aid to a boo-boo. What we need is a reform, something that can be inclusive to people out in the shadow.”

Maria Guzman, a Lehman College freshman, came to the rally Wednesday night. She was wearing a hat that reads “clean DREAM Act”

On an NPR podcast this morning, White House Legislative Affairs Director Marc Short also said that the judge’s ruling does not take pressure off finding a solution for DACA.

“We think the reality is that the Ninth Circuit in San Francisco has ruled against this administration on several occasions only to be overturned later at a higher level. If we let this drag out, the risk would be that the Supreme Court would say, yeah, we’re overturning the decision and immediately DACA ends. It’s better to give us some opportunity to find a legislative fix opposed to risking status for all of those individuals.”

The president expressed his frustration in a tweet, saying that “it just shows everyone how broken and unfair our Court System is when the opposing side in a case (such as DACA) always runs to the 9th Circuit and almost always wins before being reversed by higher courts.”

At Trump’s Tuesday meeting, leaders from both parties agreed on four parameters for negotiations: protection of DACA recipients, border security, family-based migration, and the visa lottery.

The President initially hinted at willingness to sign a bill for a clean DREAM Act, a bill that legalizes undocumented immigrants without tightened immigration policy add-ons. But then he said that there would not be any agreement without “the wall.”

Both parties are now looking at Jan. 19 as the deadline to pass a short-term bill to give DACA recipients protection.

DACA recipients and allies in New York feel increasingly anxious. The New York State Youth Leadership Council, a group led by undocumented youths, hosted a community meeting on Tuesday night to update recipients with the latest developments and plan next steps.

Janet Perez, a DACA recipient who came to the meeting Tuesday night, said, “I can barely catch up with what is happening now. I am frustrated, confused, and just trying to hang in there.”

Schumer is accused of not doing enough to support a clean DREAM Act. Since last September, protesters have demanded that Schumer ask his fellow Democrats to refrain from supporting any legislation until a clean DREAM Act is passed, emphasizing that they do not want the act to be used as a bargaining chip.

Schumer said in a statement: “Let me be very clear: The ruling last night in no way diminishes the urgency of solving the DACA issue.”

DACA survives for now, but in New York, recipients are anxious was originally published in The DACA Effect on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.
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