Who are the DACA DREAMers and how many are here?

Congress and the White House are in the midst of negotiations to find a permanent solution for undocumented immigrants brought to the country as children.Collectively, they're referred to as DREAMers, named after a bill that's failed to pass Congress since it was first introduced in 2001.A portion of those DREAMers have been protected from deportation under an Obama-era program called the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA. After passing security background checks and proving they were either in school, employed or serving in the military, DACA recipients were granted work permits and two-year reprieves from deportation that could be renewed.Here's a look at the numbers behind this population.The total number of undocumented immigrants living in the U.S.The number of undocumented immigrants who entered the U.S. before their 18th birthday, the group known as DREAMers.The number of undocumented immigrants who entered the U.S. before their 16th birthday. This is the group that met the basic requirements to apply for DACA.The total number of DREAMers who have received DACA protections over the five years of the program.690,000The number of DREAMers currently enrolled in DACAAverage age of DREAMers.Average age of DREAMers when they first entered the U.S.Percentage of DACA recipients who are working or enrolled in school.DACA recipients serving in the military.Percentage of DACA enrollees who had their status revoked because of criminal or gang activity.Sources: Department of Homeland Security; Migration Policy Institute; National survey conducted by the Center for American Progress; the University of California-San Diego; and several immigration advocacy groups.  Continue Reading

Show no sympathy for the DACA Dreamers

It amazes me that you give Ruben Navarrette (“Don’t buy the hype,” Dec. 18) so much space on Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). Try as he may, he keeps up the rhetoric about these DACA children being prime citizen prospects. The simple fact is their parents dragged them across the border and it’s time to send them all, and their families, back to their home countries. Blame the Democrats or the Republicans, I don’t care. Heck, blame me if you choose. But illegal immigration is still illegal. Whether you are 30 or 3. It’s time to enforce our laws and it’s time these people obey our laws. Navarrette, it seems, still doesn’t understand that. Don Snyder Oceanside Re “Trump, Congress ready to help dreamers?” (Dec 24): How odd that a class of illegal immigrants, deemed to be the saviors of our economy by CEOs of 400 U.S. companies, would be unable to pay the $495 permit renewal fee that would allow them to stay in the U.S., pending a determination of their status by next March. Middle class Americans often have difficulty paying bills, but can usually come up with $495 for emergencies. But “Dreamers” are a special class, cited for their intelligence, industriousness and creativity. And yet a network of non-profit organizations and advocacy groups across the country have received thousands of requests from Dreamers to help pay their renewal costs. In reality, DACA recipients are the answer to no one’s prayers, just symbols for another tiresome media crusade. Doug Bell Rancho Peñasquitos Letters and commentary policy The U-T welcomes and encourages community dialogue on important public matters. Please visit this page for more details on our letters and commentaries policy. You can email [email protected] or leave a comment below. Follow @UTLetters on Twitter and UTOpinion on Facebook. Continue Reading

In Thanksgiving spirit, keep DACA Dreamers at the family table

Thanksgiving was a major holiday in both our homes growing up — a religious holiday, celebrated all the more joyfully because it was not a Christian or Jewish holiday, not a Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, or humanist celebration, but a special day dear to all Americans, regardless of background or creed. It just mattered that we were around the table at the same time on a special day we all shared.“We gather together to ask the Lord’s blessing,” in the words ofthe hymn we both still know by heart. The blessing of the day, we knew, consisted not only in the bounteous food on the table but in the fact that we celebrated together — as a family, a community, one nation. More: En el espíritu de Acción de Gracias, mantengamos a los soñadores en la mesa More: Abortion and Dreamers could unite pro-life, social-justice evangelicals More: Trump travel ban 3 may shatter my family forever — and it's not even needed This Thanksgiving, with division and hateful speech swirling around us, too many families in our country — in our cities, in our neighborhoods, on our streets — cannot be confident of these blessings. Poverty, racism and religious bigotry ravage too many. In our own nation, 13 million children struggle with hunger each day; and21% of all children live in poverty.The gap between rich and poor continues to grow, eroding the sense of national unity Abraham Lincoln sought to foster, even in the midst of a savage war, when he established Thanksgiving in 1863.Worse still, threatening the togetherness in homes and families, looms the danger that the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program will be terminated. Both of us will enjoy our Thanksgiving meal without worrying that a family member at our tables will not be able to be with us in 2018 because they’ve been deported. But for thousands of families of the 800,000 Dreamers, this is Continue Reading

Tech industry fights Trump over DACA, DREAMer protection program

SAN FRANCISCO — The technology industry is fighting President Trump's plan to mothball a program that allows young people who were brought to the U.S. illegally as children to remain here, opening yet another front in an increasingly tense relationship with the White House.The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, known as DACA, is an Obama administration program that allows nearly 800,000 "DREAMers," young undocumented immigrants, to work and study legally in the U.S. Trump will announce Tuesday whether he will end DACA or let the program gradually expire. Under the program, DREAMers can remain in the U.S. until their work permits expire. The work permits must be renewed every two years.On Thursday night, hundreds of tech and business leaders from Amazon's Jeff Bezos to Google's Sundar Pichai sent a letter to Trump and congressional leaders."We call on President Trump to preserve the DACA program. We call on Congress to pass the bipartisan DREAM Act or legislation that provides these young people raised in our country the permanent solution they deserve," the letter sent through FWD.us, a pro-immigration group co-founded by Mark Zuckerberg.In a separate blog post, the Facebook co-founder and CEO made an emotional plea."We need a government that protects Dreamers," Zuckerberg wrote.Then in the comments, he debated Facebook users on immigration. "People who jump over fences and enter this country illegal are not dreamers they are criminals and should be deported!" wrote one Facebook user.Zuckerberg responded: "It's tough to jump over a fence when you're 1 or 2 years old. Many of these young folks didn't even make the decision to come here themselves. They were brought by their parents, they've grown up here, and this is the only country they've ever known. More: 1,850 U.S. leaders to Trump: Don't kill DREAMer protection program More: ICE releases mom who was detained despite legal status More: Continue Reading

EDITORIAL: Trump reneges on DACA deal

Remember the brief burst of enthusiasm that greeted President Trump’s recent forays into bipartisanship? First he struck a deal with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi to temporarily raise the debt ceiling while also signing off on relief aid for Hurricane Harvey victims.Then Trump in September was supposedly working with Democrats toward a solution for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which Trump scrapped while giving Congress six months to “fix” it. Reports on those talks generated some conflicting claims, but a hint of cooperation still loomed. There was, in the Democrats’ minds, at least, some preliminary agreement on saving DACA without pushing Trump’s beloved border wall.But when the White House on Sunday laid out its expectations for immigration reforms to be tied to any DACA deal, that bipartisan spirit, as minimal as it may have been, evaporated. Trump’s list of demands was a virtual laundry list of items guaranteed to sabotage Democratic support.Trump reiterated his border wall expectations — with taxpayers now likely to get stuck with the bill instead of Mexico. He wants to punish sanctuary cities willing to provide safe harbor to undocumented citizens. He wants to make it harder to get into this country and easier to get rid of people, even minors. He wants scores of new judges and attorneys to expedite deportation of decent, hard-working people. It’s an exceedingly anti-immigration manifesto, which should hardly surprise any of us, especially Democratic leaders who might have deluded themselves into believing Trump was making an honest effort at compromise. MORE: Red Bank Regional 'dreamers' tells immigrants not to give up MORE: Poll: Fewer Americans want wall, deportations WATCH: Immigration advocates want Trump to keep DACAThere’s a vein of racism running through much of Trump’s core support, and his attacks on immigrants Continue Reading

As Trump weighs fate of DACA, ‘dreamer’ vows: ‘We’re not going down without a fight’

As President Donald Trump weighs their future, many of the young people known as “dreamers” are considering how much they could be asked to sacrifice to become American citizens, to shield themselves from deportation and to protect their parents or the life they’ve built.Dreamers, young people whose parents brought them to the U.S. illegally as children, have formed coalitions in Arizona and across the U.S. to advocate for immigration reform.Now, under a president who rallied his base as an immigration hardliner and vowed to build a wall on the border with Mexico, they are imagining the human fallout of impending political decisions.“I won’t take anything that is going to put anyone at risk from my own benefit,” dreamer Belen Sisa said. “At the end of the day, I know who I am, and I know who a lot of these leaders (dreamers) are, and we’re not going down without a fight.”Sisa has led local and national fights for migrant rights, including pushing for in-state tuition for dreamers at Arizona colleges and organizing protests to stop deportations.On Tuesday, she joined a demonstration at the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement headquarters in Phoenix.Migrant-rights, faith and other community groups launched a weeklong action at ICE to call on Trump to protect Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, an Obama-era program that grants qualifying dreamers temporary protection from deportation and renewable two-year work permits.To apply for DACA, young migrants must meet certain requirements, including having entered the U.S. before turning 16, having no serious criminal background and living continuously in the U.S. since June 15, 2007.The Trump administration is under pressure from a group of Republican state attorneys general who have threatened to sue if DACA is not ended by Sept. 5.The president has continued to focus on fighting illegal immigration, taking to Twitter this week to blast Mexico for that Continue Reading

As DACA anxieties circle, 2 Phoenix ‘dreamers’ find reprieve at church

Bibiana Vazquez, 24, and Karina Cruz, 25, stood in the back of Phoenix's First Congregational United Church of Christ Sunday swaddled in each other’s arms as the notes to “Lean On Me” poured over the room.It was two days before President Donald Trump was expected to announce the fate of the nation's Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program - a program that has provided legal sanctuary to the two women and nearly 790,000 other non-criminal migrants brought to the United States as children.The impending decision has brought “a sense of anxiety” to Vazquez and Cruz.Vazquez, who was brought to the U.S. as an 8-month-old, has an accounting degree from Phoenix College and is in the process of returning to college. Cruz, who was brought from Mexico City at age 4, runs a cleaning company.“We just don’t know what’s going to happen,” Cruz said, sitting outside the church after Sunday’s service. “I’m just anxious for everyone because it could change our lives completely - losing our jobs, going back to zero and starting all over again.” MORE: 'Dreamers' await Trump move on DACA President Barack Obama created the DACA program by executive order in June 2012 after immigrant advocacy groups expressed frustration that he had not delivered on his campaign promise of comprehensive immigration reform.As of the end of March, 787,580 people had been approved for DACA, including 27,865 in Arizona.If Trump delivers on his own campaign promise to end the program, recipients like Vazquez and Cruz, who have two-year legal permits, may be forced to gradually expire out of DACA.As talks of axing the program by the Trump administration this week lead to calls for reassessment by both Republican and Democrat leaders, fear and uncertainty struck many DACA recipients - often dubbed ‘dreamers.’“It’s just stressful to know that people want to affect you even Continue Reading

10 things to know about 800K DACA recipients, ‘dreamers’ and Trump

President Donald Trump fulfilled Tuesday his campaign promise to roll back an immigration program, established by former President Barack Obama, that temporarily protects young migrants from deportation.About 28,000 migrants in Arizona and nearly 800,000 nationwide are recipients of DACA, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals."Dreamers" — the name given to these young people — are on edge. So are their families and friends. Immigration hardliners are pushing Trump to keep his campaign promises and send all of the estimated 11 million migrants without legal status back to their home countries ― including the dreamers.A bipartisan coalition of politicians pleaded with Trump to keep the program and give Congress a chance to find a legislative fix.Trump told Congress on Twitter Tuesday morning to "get ready to do your job ― DACA!"Attorney General Jeff Session said Tuesday that the Department of Homeland Security had chosen "to initiate a wind-down process" of the program, with the intention of giving Congress time to act. Here's what you need to know about this political showdown over an immigration policy that affects hundreds of thousands of migrants.DACA stands for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.The program has protected nearly 800,000 migrants from deportation. The majority of migrants who qualify for the program have lived in the country without legal authorization since they were children.Some parents brought them to the U.S. illegally. Others came with parents who overstayed their visas and no longer had legal authorization to remain in the U.S.In 2012, Obama signed an executive order to temporarily shield about 1 million eligible immigrants from deportation. Obama did not consult with Congress on DACA, angering Republicans and some Democrats from conservative states.To apply for DACA, migrants must meet certain requirements. They must have entered Continue Reading

GOP lawmakers urge Trump to leave DACA alone, let Congress handle legislation

President Trump is weighing whether to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program put in place under President Obama, which protects nearly 800,000 young people from deportation. But Republican lawmakers are urging him to leave the order in place and let Congress handle it.“I actually don’t think he should do that. And I believe that this is something Congress has to fix,” House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., told WCLO, a local radio station. In an interview with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel editorial board Friday afternoon, Ryan said he didn't agree with Obama's decision, but now "a lot of these kids don’t know any other home but this country, so I think it’s something that Congress needs to get on top of and fix.”“I think there’s a way to do this humanely," Ryan continued. “They were brought here through no fault of their own; this is what they know, and so I think there is a way to fix this and I believe the president agrees with that.”Nearly 800,000 undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as children — called DREAMers —were given temporary protection from deportation in an executive order issued by Obama. Critics have accused Obama of overstepping his power by issuing the order since laws should be made by Congress, but the issue is complicated. Many people also feel it would be difficult to kick out the program’s recipients who have given their information to be part of the system.Trump, who campaigned on the promise to end the program, has expressed sympathy for DREAMers since he took office. On Friday, when reporters at the White House asked whether DREAMers  should be worried, Trump responded: “We love the DREAMERs. We love everybody ... we think the DREAMERs are terrific."White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters a decision would be coming Tuesday."He loves people and wants to make Continue Reading

Democrats take to Twitter to react to reports of Trump ending DACA

As reports circulated Sunday night about President Trump's plans to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program, also known as the DACA, Democrats took to Twitter to share their thoughts and reactions.  More: What is DACA and who does it protect? "If Trump decides to end DACA, it will be one of the ugliest and cruelest decisions ever made by a president in our modern history," tweeted Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt. "If @realDonaldTrump was interested in healing our nation, he wouldn't end #DACA," wrote Rep. Ted Lieu, D-Calif. "His decision is based on heeling to his shrinking base."The hashtag "#DACA" quickly rose to be among the top of Twitter's "Trending Topics" list in the United States early Monday morning."Young people affected by #DACA are American in every way except immigration status," tweeted Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn. "@POTUS ending program is not who we should be as nation."Senator Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., tweeted her support for the DREAM act as a way to protect the immigrants at risk by the ending of the DACA. "Congress MUST act to protect #DACA recipients. I'm ready to vote "YES" on the DREAM Act!""It's a cruel hand that extends the American dream and then steals it away. #DACA #DREAMers," wrote Rep. Joe Kennedy III, D-Mass., in the first of three tweets on the topic.  "For an Administration marked by indifference to plight of others, today @POTUS hit rock bottom, ending protection for a bunch of kids. #DACA," wrote Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif..Citing unnamed sources, Politico and Reuters reported on Sunday night that Trump had decided to end the DACA, a program created by the Obama administration in 2012 and that protects nearly 800,000 young undocumented immigrants from deportation.  Reuters, citing sources familiar with the situation, said that Trump will give Congress six months to craft a bill to replace DACA. But a senior White House aide Continue Reading