On Tuesday (5 September), Donald Trump’s administration formally announced the end of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and it could have major consequences for LGBTI youths.
DACA is an Obama-era immigration policy. It protects undocumented immigrants brought to the United States as children aka Dreamers.
To be approved, applicants had to be younger than 16 when arriving and have lived in the US since 2007. They also could not be older than 30 when the policy went into effect in 2012.
DACA did not provide a path to citizenship. However, it allowed immigrants to apply for schools and jobs, get valid driver’s licenses, and pay taxes.
In a statement, Trump said his administration will ‘resolve the DACA issue with heart and compassion’. He plans to slowly phase it out. Unless Congress passes a measure protecting Dreamers, hundreds of thousands of immigrants could face deportation come 2018.
DACA and the LGBTI community
This decision is entwined with the United States’ LGBTI community.
The National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) estimates there are over 75,000 LGBTI Dreamers. The Los Angeles LGBT Center, on the other hand, says there are over 36,000 LGBTI DACA participants.
Regardless of varying estimates, the fact remains this decision will affect many LGBTI people.
‘For the 11 percent of DACA recipients who identify as LGBT, today’s announcement is even more chilling,’ said NCLR Director Kate Kendell in a statement. ‘In an announcement that lasted only minutes, this administration just turned the lives of tens of thousands of our community members upside down, putting their dreams, their futures, and potentially their safety at risk.’
The LGBT Center’s CEO Lorri L. Jean also released a statement on the development. They begin by condemning the decision and calling on Congress to act.
So soon after Hurricane Harvey and the transgender military ban, the statement says, ‘the President has chosen this moment to end DACA and deliberately cause irreparable harm to hundreds of thousands of young people’.
‘When this administration tells these young people to ‘go home,’ they are choosing to cruelly ignore the fact that they are already home,’ said Jean. ‘And, with an estimated 36,000 LGBT DACA participants, it is a clear message to the LGBT community that we are not part of Trump’s America.
‘It is irresponsible. It is reprehensible. It is un-American.’