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Young Immigrants Warned Not to Apply for DACA Under Trump

DACA ArgumentsBy Alberto Garcia

San Diego immigration activists have launched a campaign to educate young immigrants on their options leading up to the inauguration of Donald Trump as President on January 20.

The new campaign, called Rise Together, is aimed at informing undocumented immigrants of their options when considering how to proceed with obtaining legal status or protecting themselves if detained by immigration authorities.

The outreach effort is organized by Alliance San Diego, a local non-profit organization dedicated to “strengthening and uplifting our communities so that all people can achieve their full potential in an environment of harmony, safety, equality and justice.”

One of the recommendations of the campaign is that first-time applicants not file for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, after Donald Trump becomes President.

“The concern is that those who have not yet applied for DACA, if they were to apply now, the program might end before they were awarded DACA, and they will be in limbo,” said Andrea Guerrero, Executive Director of Alliance San Diego. “They will have come out of the shadows, they will be known to the government, but they won’t have DACA, they will be in a vulnerable position.”

The campaign recommends that those that have already enrolled in DACA renew their application before January 20 since their paperwork is already in the system. DACA permits expire every two years.

Donald Trump has vowed to reverse Executive Orders issued by President Barack Obama, including DACA, which so far has granted work permits and deportation relief to more than 750,000 immigrants.
Immigrant activists are unsure what steps Trump may take upon assuming the presidency, and some fear the information from DACA applications could be used to deport applicants.

The outreach campaign released a 30-second video outlining their recommendations, including advising immigrants to collect and store their important documents like birth certificates and passports, requesting to see a judge if detained, and returning to the U.S. before Inauguration Day.

Alliance San Diego recommends immigrants apply for other programs they may be eligible for beside DACA. For example, it’s estimated that up to 15 percent of undocumented immigrants in San Diego are eligible to apply for other permanent immigration programs, including the U-Visa for victims of crime or domestic violence.

DACA was authorized in August 2012 for undocumented immigrants brought into the country before their 16th birthday.  The program offers work permits and deferred deportation for those meeting certain criteria, including being under 31 years old; continuously living in the U.S. since 2007; being in school, have graduated, or honorably discharged from the Armed Forces of the United States; not having been convicted of a felony, significant misdemeanor, or three or more other misdemeanors; and do not otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety.

“Hand in hand, with our heads held high, let’s rise together,” the video states. After outlining the several recommendations, the video concludes, “You’re not alone, lets rise together.”

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