INDIANAPOLIS — A decision on the fate of 700,000 so-called Dreamers could come down soon from the U.S. Supreme Court.
The case examines whether the Trump administration lawfully terminated the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program in September 2017.
Since then, courts have allowed current DACA recipients to renew their work permits, but new applications ground to a halt.
Leezia Dhalla, press director for the immigration reform group FWD.us, says it would be cruel to start deporting people brought here as children, many of whom have no memory of any other country.
“Immigration officers will now be able to pursue their removal,” she points out. “We will see this population end up in immigration detention. We will see them being ripped away from their families, in what is another wave of the family separation crisis.”
Matthew Albence, acting director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), says his agency will uphold the rule of law by deporting Dreamers if the Supreme Court ends the program.
Indianapolis has the 6th-largest concentration of DACA recipients in the country, at 3,800. Elkhart has 1,200. And another 1,000 Dreamers live in the regions surrounding Cincinnati and Louisville.
Dhalla notes that many DACA recipients have been integral to the fight against COVID-19.
“About 200,000 DACA recipients are essential workers,” she points out. “Tens of thousands of them are in health care.
“They are doctors, nurses, home health care aides, really fighting at the front lines of this pandemic and so, all of their futures are at stake. ”
The U.S. House has passed a bill that includes a path to U.S. citizenship for DACA recipients, but Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has refused to bring it up for a Senate vote.