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President Trump’s latest move vs immigrants

There are today some 800,000 young people in the United States who were brought in illegally by their parents who then overstayed their visas and were, therefore, deported. But the children, many of them aged five to six at the time, stayed on with relatives, attended American schools, and grew up feeling American – except that under US law, they were not citizens and should have left the country with their parents years and years ago.

President Barack Obama appealed their case to the US Congress but the Republican-controlled Congress did not act on proposals for major immigration reform – along with other Democratic Party initiatives. A bill for Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) was filed in 2001 and reintroduced several times in succeeding years, but it was never passed.

President Obama decided to issued an executive order entitled Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). He said his administration would stop deporting illegal immigrants who matched the criteria in the proposed DREAM act, including arriving in the US before age 16, residing continuously in the US for at least five years, and graduating from a US high school or obtaining a General Education Diploma, and having good moral character.

Last Tuesday, the Trump administration, through Attorney General Jeff Sessions, announced the ending of DACA, under which 800,000 “dreamers” – so-called in reference to the DREAM bill that was never passed – are in the US today. Many of them have grown up, found work commensurate with their education, and begun their own families. They now face deportation as illegal immigrants.

Among these 800,000 are about 5,000 Filipinos. In their behalf, the National Federation of Filipino-American Associations joined nationwide protests and appeals, saying “DACA recipients are Americans in every sense, except for their paperwork, and should be allowed them to thrive and build lives here in the United States.”

In rescinding DACA, President Trump asked Congress to decide on the issue within six months. If Congress remains unable to enact a law – as it has failed to do so since 2001 – Trump will start rounding up the “dreamers” – who have lived nearly all of their lives in the US, with no memories of the country of their parents. Many of whom now have work contributing to the national economy.

That would be one more chapter in President Trump’s battle against immigrants trying to find new lives and opportunities in the original land of opportunity founded by immigrants, the United States of America.

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