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Are 'Dreamers' safe in the Trump Administration?

The rhetoric of President Trump's campaign regarding people who are not in this country legally has left a lot of people on edge. Agencies like Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) have cracked down on undocumented immigrants.

Even those who qualified for President Obama's Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program have been nervous. The program, implemented by executive order in 2012, allowed immigrants who came here illegally as children (referred to as "Dreamers") to remain in the country legally if they met certain requirements. However, they had to come out from the shadows and acknowledge their illegal immigrant status to do so.

So can the trust that they put in the federal government under President Obama backfire on them in the Trump administration? He promised his base during the campaign that they would not be excluded from his plans for reducing the number of people in the country illegally.

President Trump acknowledged in April that the issue of what should happen to these approximately 800,000 Dreamers is a "very difficult subject for me." He told the Associated Press that same month that his administration would not pursue these young people and that "Dreamers should rest easy."

It didn't help, however, that ICE's acting director recently said in a congressional hearing, "If you are in this country illegally, and you committed a crime by entering this country, you should be uncomfortable, you should look over your shoulder, and you need to be worried." The Department of Homeland Security issued a statement saying, "The future of the DACA program continues to be under review with the administration."

So far, however, the administration has renewed work permits for Dreamers and, in fact, has issued new ones. Political and immigration experts have speculated about why Dreamers have thus far escaped Trump's strict immigration policies. Has he been swayed by family members, his own conscience or potential public and political outcry, even from members of his own party? As one immigration expert noted, "I doubt he has the stomach for going after kids en masse."

It may be too early to become complacent if you or a loved one is in the DACA program. Things could change with an early morning Tweet from the president. If you have any concerns about your status, you should seek legal guidance from an experienced Georgia immigration attorney.

Source: Bloomberg, "Trump Allows Dreamers to Stay. Why?," Francis Wilkinson, June 19, 2017

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