There might have been a celebration last week after the Supreme Court decision that rejected President Donald Trump’s bid to end the DACA program after more than 10 years, but any such celebration in Chelsea was muted and wary of the future.
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled last week that the DACA program – which allows those brought illegally to the country as children to be held harmless in regards to immigration deportation and work rules. It has been in place for more than 10 years, brought in under great fanfare by President Barack Obama – allowing hundreds of Chelsea young people at the time to go to school, work legally and pursue their dreams.
Now that those young people are grown up, the threat to end DACA made many very nervous, and the decision blocking the effort to end it makes many even more nervous.
“The one thing about the decision is it give the administration a roadmap to maybe try again to revoke authorization,” said Daisy Gonzalez, Immigration and Citizenship Coordinator at the Chelsea Collaborative. “Even though it’s a victory, we still understand that decision gives the Trump Administration another chance and this roadmap to try again. We believe if he’s re-elected, he will try again and they will have a better understanding how to do it properly. We’re striving for those with DACA to have permanent residency and eventually citizenship. It’s a long way to go.”
The decision by the high Court did not reject the proposal outright, but as Gonzalez said, rejected it on a technical problem. The decision identified the problem, and many believe that another effort will be made to file it correctly.
Ahead of the decision, Gonzalez said many residents with DACA were apprehensive to re-file for renewal – worrying they would lose their application fees and maybe they would be identified for deportation if their status was revoked.
Most of the DACA recipients in Chelsea are now older, though when the program was issued, there were many in high school and college. Unfortunately, Gonzalez said a lot of them were not able to finish college due to finances. Being able to work legally, many were counted on to get jobs to support the family and not focus on school.
“A lot of them started out trying to pursue their college education, but due to the economic impacts now and responsibilities they acquired, the simply did not complete the college education they hoped for,” she said. “They are now very concerned about their children…They are also concerned about the new public charge laws too. They have a lot of concerns, and this decision was just a temporary relief.”