The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) immigration program is under attack, spurring nationwide concern for those affected. DACA is a federal law that protects foreign-born people who, under no choice of their own, were brought to the United States as young children. The law protects applicants from being deported, but it also has provided lawful work permits to those who qualify. Because so many other privileges flow from working legally and obtaining immigration status, the effects of cutting DACA could be far reaching and could even impact the economy greatly.
Right now, an estimated 450,000 DACA recipients receive health care through their employers. Additionally, an additional 290,000 people receive state-subsidized health care. Although DACA recipients do not qualify for coverage under federal health insurance programs such as Medicare or Medicaid, this means that many of their protections have been and will continue to be sought at the state level. Some states will pass legislation to continue to protect DACA applicants even if the program expires, but other states are likely to opt out this sort of legislation. This could force undocumented young people to relocate to certain states.
In addition to losing health care, DACA recipients may no longer be eligible for state student loans or in-state tuition as they have in the past. This will restrict their access to education greatly and create large swaths of young people who want to attend college but cannot because of the financial barriers. Moreover, DACA recipients will not be eligible to obtain professional license, so even if they do find a way to get through college, they may not be able to practice their profession without a license.
If DACA recipients do try to obtain work after the program ends, they may have difficulty finding transportation to the job. This is because they will also not be eligible for driver’s licenses as they have been under the DACA program.
Ending DACA could have disastrous impacts on its current recipients. Many argue this could contribute toward creating a young and under-educated underclass. DACA recipients are the children of people who took a great risk in coming to the United States and they are likely just as motivated as their parents. Without protections, the U.S. stands to lose an important part of the economy and an increase in state-subsided healthcare for impoverished people. The state ultimately bears the burden of these increased costs.
Philadelphia Immigration Lawyers at Surin & Griffin, P.C. are Dedicated to Protect the Rights of DACA Recipients
If you or someone you know is a DACA recipient, the time to obtain sound legal advice about what the future could hold is now. The Philadelphia immigration lawyers at Surin & Griffin, P.C. are keeping a close watch on Congress’ discussions and decisions regarding DACA. To learn how you or your family may be affected, contact us online or call 215-925-4435 to discuss your case today. From our Philadelphia office, we represent individuals and families throughout the surrounding area, including those in Delaware County, Montgomery County, and Philadelphia County.