Dreamers located in Elkhart County let out a sigh of relief on March 14 when the Indiana Legislature passed a proposal allowing DACA recipients to continue obtaining professional licenses.The Deferred Action of Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA, was put into place in 2012 during the Obama Administration in hopes of protecting undocumented persons who came to the United States as children. With DACA status, Dreamers, or DACA recipients, are protected from deportation and receive a work permit. Every two years, Dreamers must renew their DACA status.
During Trump’s first year of presidency, he announced that DACA was to be phased out — current recipients would stay until their two-year legal status expired, and new applications would not be processed. It was estimated that DACA recipients would be eligible for deportation this month.
On Feb. 26, the U.S. Supreme Court declined Trump’s request to review a lower court’s decision to block the expiration of DACA and instead continue offering renewal applications. The Supreme Court refuses to comment on the debate.
Fortunately for Dreamers, both the House and Senate affirmed the proposal. Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb supports this legislation.
When the news first broke in Sept. of the rescission of DACA, Goshen College rushed to protect its students. Know Your Rights seminars were hosted, free on-campus counseling was made more public and Goshen College’s Center for Intercultural and International Education (CIIE) provided free legal services as well as information sessions for students and their parents.
On March 8, President Rebecca Stoltzfus sent out a campus-wide email with a brief update about DACA. At the time, Congress had yet to make any decisions, but the U.S. Supreme Court had just denied to view President Trump’s request to overturn a lower court decision.
In the email, President Stoltzfus said, “While this doesn’t end the anxiety and uncertainty our DACA students have faced over the past five months, we can be grateful that deportation threats to our students are on hold for now.”
When the proposal that protects DACA students was passed, President Stoltzfus released another email — titled “A positive update on DACA!”
“This is very good news indeed for the 1,200 DACA recipients in Elkhart County, some of them our students and alumni,” President Stoltzfus said.