By David Sivak
Some immigration advocacy groups have claimed in recent days that more than 10,000 “Dreamers” have lost legal protections since the White House rescinded the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
When President Donald Trump rescinded the DACA program in September, the roughly 800,000 Dreamers who received work permits and deferred deportation were suddenly at risk of losing their quasi-legal status.
In order to pressure Congress into quickly passing the DREAM Act as a legislative fix, immigration activists have begun to claim that the two-year permits granted under DACA have already expired for more than 10,000 recipients.
— CAP Action (@CAPAction) November 27, 2017
“Over 10,000 people have already lost DACA protections since 9/5. Tell your lawmakers we need a clean #DreamActNow,” tweeted the Center for American Progress.
“Since POTUS’ decision to end DACA, an estimated 10K recipients have lost protection. Congress must pass #DREAMAct before end of the year to provide a permanent solution to #ProtectDREAMers,” tweeted Democratic Sen. Martin Heinrich of New Mexico.
“Over 10k DACA recipients have *already* lost status—despite huge support for bipartisan Dream Act. We need a clean #DreamActNow – by Christmas!” tweeted MoveOn.org.
Thousands of Dreamers have lost DACA status since Trump’s announcement, but advocacy groups fail to mention that these recipients could have renewed their permits.
When DHS cancelled the DACA program, it announced a 30-day window for Dreamers to apply for renewals if their status expired before March 2018.
“No person should lose benefits under this memorandum prior to March 5, 2018 if they properly file a renewal request and associated application for employment authorization,” reads an FAQ on the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) website.
Eighty-six percent of the 154,000 DACA recipients with expiring authorizations submitted renewal requests by the deadline, but 22,000 did not.
All 22,000 Dreamers will lose their authorizations by March 2018, but advocacy groups overstate how quickly this will happen.
The progressive Center for American Progress (CAP) estimates that an even number of Dreamers will lose status each day until March. That’s about 122 DACA recipients a day, or nearly 10,500 to date.
But there’s no need for an estimate – USCIS already publishes how many authorizations will expire each month. That number will be 5,900 by the end of November, which is 44 percent lower than the estimate circulated by CAP and other advocacy groups.
Organizations like United We Dream have used the higher figure to claim that more than 10,000 Dreamers have already lost their ability to work, drive and pursue higher education
“More than 10k lost their status – and with that their jobs… Their ability to drive… To stay in school…” tweeted United We Dream.
These Dreamers certainly risk losing their jobs, as companies can face penalties of up to $4,400 for each unauthorized worker. Some DACA recipients may even lose their ability to apply for a driver’s license or in-state tuition.
But the impact has likely been smaller than what United We Dream claims.
Forty-five percent of Dreamers reside in states that allow illegal immigrants to possess driver’s licenses, 52 percent live in states that would offer financial aid for higher eduction, and 76 percent reside in states that offer in-state tuition, regardless of legal status.
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