Understanding DACA and Why it Affects People in the Valley

More than 800,000 of them are about to be affected by President Trump's decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, program

FARGO, ND — Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, affects more than 800,000 people in the United States.

With President Trump’s announcement that he will rescind the program, people all over the country are reacting, including here in Fargo.

They’re called DREAMERS.

More than 800,000 of them are about to be affected by President Trump’s decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, program.

DACA provides minors a two-year period in which they won’t be deported and allows them to work in the U.S.

“The average age that they came to the United States is about six years old,” said Fargo immigration lawyer, Anna Marie Stenson. “In many respects, these are individuals who have grown up. Many of them didn’t know or understand that they didn’t have any immigration status.”

Some say they feel for DACA recipients, but Congress needs to come up with a solution.

“It’s a law that should go through Congress, so for that reason, it’s something that isn’t legal at the moment,” Noel Olson, who lives in Fargo. “But hopefully, Congress will do their part and make it legal.”

According to Stenson, one of the major issues that could arise from President Trump’s decision will affect DREAMERS regardless, despite having a clean record.

“Part of the problem there is the immigration court system is already backlogged and overburdened,” Stenson said. “They have the potential of being a priority for immigration removal, where there could be people who have come more recently and do have criminal history.”

Shirley Dykshoorn of Lutheran Social Services said when considering deporting these 800,000 people, it’s important to keep one thing in mind.

“What’s the reason for the deporting? Does it make sense to take that action? It’s not like their criminals that are being deported or they have a history of violating the law or causing trouble,” Dykshoorn said.

President Trump said he will revisit the DACA program if Congress does not come up with a plan to fix it within the next six months, but some say it might not be enough time for a complex issue like immigration.

“May be unrealistic,” said Stenson. “It’s going to be up to us and the political will to try and in the time limit the president has given or then we start encountering ‘what happens next?'”

Sixteen democratic and nonpartisan state’s attorney generals filed a lawsuit in New York federal court to prevent Trump’s DACA decision.

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