Local immigration expert weighs in on plan to end DACA

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — A federal judge has put the brakes on President Donald Trump’s plan to end DACA, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

“They’ve really been riding an awful roller coaster in terms of being able to plan for their futures,” said immigration law expert Jill Family.

About 800,000 people have been enrolled in the program which protects children who came to the U.S. illegally or whose families had expired visas. In Pennsylvania, there are about 5,000 DACA recipients, also known as dreamers.

“People who have DACA are teachers,” Family said. “They work in the healthcare industry, and so for their employers to even try to plan is very difficult. It also affects their family members, which more often than not will include U.S. citizens.”

Family, who is the director of Widener University’s Law and Government Institute, says the uncertainty of DACA makes it hard for local residents to meet their basic needs.

“Where are they going to be able to live? Are they going to be able to stay with their families? Are they going to be forced to move to a country that they haven’t known since they were kids?” Family said.

But the Trump administration insists the program was an illegal circumvention of Congress. In a statement, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders called Tuesday night’s ruling “outrageous, especially in light of the President’s successful bipartisan meeting with House and Senate members at the White House on the same day.”

The Justice Department says despite this last ruling, it will continue its efforts to phase out the program.

Family says the futures of recipients may be determined on a case by case basis.

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