If you’re unsure about your status as an immigrant and feel uncertain about your future, you’re not alone. Many people are in your situation as the state of Pennsylvania is caught up in the changes brought about by the end of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
Since taking office in January, the Trump administration has lashed out at immigrant communities and taken action to implement new immigration restrictions that many lawyers and judges argue are unconstitutional. Today, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) website proudly boasts that immigration arrests have increased 40 percent in the last 11 months, a figure that many fear will continue to increase as the March 5, 2018 DACA expiration date nears.
DACA Status Uncertain
The impending end of DACA protection has many immigrants concerned about their rights and options. Individuals protected under DACA provisions may only have months left to stay in the United States.
For those who apply for lawful permanent resident status, many find themselves in the crosshairs of ICE authorities when they apply for permanent status.
The deportation case involving Osman Enriquez, illustrates the complex legal and political issues that many current and former DACA recipients now face. Enriquez, who graduated from a Pennsylvania high school and works as a skilled stonemason, was recently detained after his application for deportation protection was delayed due to a U.S. Postal Service glitch. With local government and federal agencies such as ICE at odds with each other, legal intervention was the only thing able to ing deported and taken away from his wife and son, however, his future immigration status remains in question.
Immigrants Build Revenue
As Pennsylvania’s population declines, economists and pro-immigration advocates alike believe the state needs immigrants to fill jobs. The American Immigration Council states that in 2016 alone, DACA recipients in Philadelphia paid almost $21 million in state and local taxes. If these immigrants are eventually deported, the state will lose essential revenue.
Courts in the Forefront
Federal courts are one of the battlegrounds where the fight for immigrant rights is unrelenting. Earlier this year, a California federal court blocked what it believed to be an unconstitutional executive order that would have taken federal funding away from sanctuary cities. This past November, the city of Philadelphia had its turn in federal court. At stake was over one million dollars of federal funds that make up a sizable percentage of the city’s budget. In the end, Philadelphia won that battle and was able to keep these vital funds.
Despite efforts by advocacy organizations, courts, local governments and average citizens, deportations continue in this unpredictable time for immigration issues in America. If you or someone you know is at risk of being deported, it’s important to understand your legal rights and to obtain help.