'I keep subscribing to live in the United States': Twee generasies DACA bly gefrustreerd deur 'n droom wat uitgestel is

Ongedokumenteerde immigrante wat as kinders na die Verenigde State aangekom het, bank op 'n Obama-era-program om hulle vir jare teen deportasie te beskerm, living in a state of perpetual limbo and waiting for either legislation that will give them permanence or a court decision that could take away any protection they have.

Die Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program was intended to provide temporary reprieve to a slice of the undocumented population in the absence of legislation. But it’s now dragged on for nearly 10 years and two generations are taking shape: the first generation, going into their early 30s, and the second generation, just graduating high school.
Both are still waiting for a permanent solution to their otherwise temporary status, while fretting over an anticipated court decision in Texas that could put the program at risk all over again.
    President Joe Biden pledged to preserve DACA, but after four years of the program being under threat and closed off to new applicants, immigrants applying for the program know the hope that comes with DACA is brief and their status ultimately hangs on permanent legislation.
      There’s no pathway to citizenship for me,” said Karla Daniela Salazar Chavira, 18, who applied for DACA in January. “It’s like a paid subscription. I keep subscribing to live in the United Statesbut I would like to be accepted to live in the United States as a citizen.
        It’s been a turbulent few years for beneficiaries of DACA, a program established in 2012 to address a portion of the undocumented population that came to the US as children following multiple failed legislative efforts. The Trump administration tried ending DACA in 2017, a move that faced immediate legal challenges and was eventually blocked by the Supreme Court last year.
        Steeds, immigrants eligible for the program were unable to apply until a federal judge rejected a follow-up plan by the Trump administration to overhaul DACA last fall.
          Maria, a 17-year-old based in California, was among the first group of DACA-eligible immigrants to apply for the program in December. Maria said her mom had to forgo paying rent so she could pay to submit her application. “It was nerve wracking. It was my first time applying for anything that has to do with my status in the United States,” sy het gese. CNN agreed to refer to her only by her first name over concerns for her status.
          Between mid-November and December 31, rondom 2,700 immigrants applied for DACA, according to USCIS data provided in court filings on a related case. Daar is meer as 636,000 DACA houers as of December 2020.
          Shortly after taking office, Biden introduced a comprehensive immigration reform bill that included a pathway to citizenship for millions of immigrants. Congress is the only body that can provide a permanent solution for DACA recipients through legislation.
          Biden reassured DACA recipients who met with him in the Oval Office in mid-May that he’s committed to passing immigration legislation and addressing the undocumented population, according to two recipients who attended the meeting.
          He made sure that we felt comfortable. We talked about many important things, like legalization, and had a friendly conversation,” said Leydy Rangel, a DACA recipient. “He did reassure us that he has our back and that this is the year to take that action. This meeting needs to be turned into action by the Senate.
          In Maart, die huis passed the American Dream and Promise Act of 2021, which would provide a pathway to citizenship for the recipients of DACA, ook bekend as “Dreamers,” as well as for Temporary Protected Status recipients and Deferred Enforced Departure beneficiaries.
          The bill passed the House in previous years but was voted on now that Democrats hold slim majorities in both the House and Senate. The bill is expected to hit a wall in the Senate, though immigrant advocates are holding out hope.
          “Eerlikwaar, this is the best chance we’ve had in decades. That doesn’t mean it’s easy. Immigration reform and pathways to citizenship are never easy,” said Frank Sharry, executive director of America’s Voice, an immigrant advocacy group.
          We can no longer wait. The ball is in the Senate’s court,” DACA recipient Maria Praeli told CNN following the May meeting with Biden. “I know the President’s with us. Hy het dit gesê, this meeting reaffirmed it. … I hope that all those things signal to Congress that they need to act on it and move on it,” het sy bygevoeg, referring to legislation.
          Looming over legislative action is an anticipated court decision in Texas over the legality of DACA. The case before Judge Andrew Hanen, brought by Texas and a coalition of states in 2018, could mark the latest twist in years of legal back-and-forth over the Obama-era program.
          Texas — along with Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Nebraska, South Carolina and West Virginiaargued in its initial complaint that the program placed an undue burden on the states and amounted to executive overreach.
          Hanen has previously indicated where he stands on the issue. In 2018, he said he believed DACA is likely illegal and ultimately will fail to survive a challenge before his court, but allowed the program to go forward.
          But months after hearing arguments on the legality of the program, he’s yet to rule. In the interim, young immigrantsthe next generation of DACA recipientsare trying to snag permits while they can and are waiting in line to obtain them.
          US Citizenship and Immigration Services is digging out of backlogs that accumulated during the pandemic, which can translate to delays in biometric appointmentsthe first step toward obtaining DACA.
          Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and other factorsincluding an increase in applications and petitionsUSCIS is experiencing delays for some applications and petitions filed, with processing times affected by several variables including demand and capacity,” said Victoria Palmer, an agency spokesperson, in 'n verklaring.
            Karen Tumlin, director and founder of Justice Action Center and counsel in one of the DACA cases that went to the Supreme Court, has been in touch with legal service providers nationwide who are grappling with those delays.
            “Sommige (DACA-eligible immigrants) have been waiting for so many years to get through, which is why the delays in the biometrics piece is heartbreaking,” Tumlin said. “If not now, when are they going to get through?”

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