The unknowns of US immigration policy are increasing anxiety among first-generation Latinx teens

Not surprising:

Despite the fast-moving news cycle nowadays, shifting immigration policies and policy guidelines make headlines every week. At the end of one dizzying week that included a serious discussion on the decriminalization of border crossings and a Supreme Court ruling againstadding a citizenship question on the 2020 U.S. Census, the Supreme Court announced it would hear the Trump administration’s appeal to end Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) next fall, just in time to issue their ruling the summer before the election. And that was just one week in June.

Dreamers have faced uncertainty about their immigration status since September 2017 when the Trump administration moved to terminate the program and the federal courts took up several lawsuits challenging these actions. Now, new research shows that immigration policy concerns are taking mental tolls on first-generation Latinx (Latino/Latina) adolescents.

Using data from a long-term study of primarily Mexican families living in California’s Salinas Valley region, researchers surveyed 397 sixteen-year-olds with at least one immigrant parent. In the year following the 2016 presidential election, nearly half of the teens reported that they worried about how immigration policies could affect themselves and their families. Compared to before the 2016 election, the teens who worried more about immigration policy also reported an increase in symptoms of anxiety. Particularly among teenage boys, higher anxiety was correlated with poor sleep quality.

As we debate changes to U.S. immigration policy, many immigrant families are having difficult conversations about planning for the worst-case scenario. This research shows that the uncertainty regarding immigration status has effects on mental health in children as well as adults. More studies need to be done to address the long-term health consequences of these policies on immigrant families, both directly and indirectly through their access to healthcare services.

Source: The unknowns of US immigration policy are increasing anxiety among first-generation Latinx teens

82% of Dreamers Won’t Benefit from House Bill’s Citizenship Path

Solid analysis:

House Republicans will vote on their “compromise” immigration bill this week. Moderate Republican supporters of the bill may argue that its many restrictionist features—including draconian asylum provisions, cancelling the applications of 3 million people waiting to immigrate legally, and permanent reductions in legal immigration—are a small price to pay to help the entire Dreamer population gain a “pathway to citizenship.” However, an analysis of the Border Security and Immigration Reform Act (BSIF) shows that even under the most generous assumptions, the bill would likely initially legalize only 821,906 people, provide permanent residence (i.e. a pathway to citizenship) to 628,758, and result in citizenship for 421,268.

As provided in Table 1, only a third of the Dreamer population would likely receive status under the House plan (H.R. 6136), and just 18 percent would likely make it onto the pathway to citizenship. Only 12 percent would likely apply for and receive citizenship. Moreover, even the pathway to citizenship is tenuous, since—for all Dreamers in DACA or without legal status today—it is contingent on a future Congress appropriating money for a quite expensive (at least $25 billion) wall and security system along the Southwest border of the United States.

Table 1: Dreamer Populations and Eligibility Under Border Security and Immigration Reform Act

Sources: Authors’ calculations (see below) based on population estimates from Migration Policy Institute (DACA eligible and total Dreamer Population based on American Hope Act); Border Security and Immigration Reform Act (H.R. 6136)
*As of December 31, 2016

If Congress wants to help a larger number of Dreamers, then it would need to establish clear legalization criteria with lower costs and fewer risks, while providing greater legal certainty for the parents of Dreamers to mitigate fears of coming forward. Members of Congress should not exaggerate the extent of the legalization of Dreamers as a way to justify politically questionable policy choices, including reducing the annual level of legal immigration and eliminating several current immigration categories.

Restrictive Criteria in the House Bill

Back in January, President Trump promised a pathway to citizenship for Dreamers—up to 1.8 million of them. That’s still just half of the 3.6 million Dreamers—unauthorized immigrants who entered the country as minors—estimated by the Migration Policy Institute (MPI) to be in the United States as of January 1, 2017, but it’s still far more than the estimated number of Dreamers who will likely receive permanent residence under the House compromise legislation that will receive a vote this week.

The BSIF Act creates a four-part framework for potentially receiving permanent residence—a “path to citizenship”—and later citizenship (see Table 2 at the end). First, Dreamers would need to meet a set of basic criteria to receive conditional nonimmigrant status, a temporary renewable legal status. Second, after six years, most would need to apply for a renewal of this status. Third, they could apply for permanent residence over a 15-year period if they met a final set of requirements. Fourth, they could apply for citizenship five years after receiving permanent residence. Each stage will reduce the population that ultimately will become U.S. citizens.

The House immigration bill would use the same restrictive basic criteria as the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Its authors argue that if the requirements were good enough for President Obama who created DACA in 2012, they should be good enough for Democrats today. But as an act of prosecutorial discretion, DACA was never meant to be permanent immigration law, and in any case, President Obama tried to update its eligibility requirements in 2015, only to be stopped by the courts. The bill wouldn’t stop there. The House plan imposes additional eligibility requirements that would exclude even more Dreamers from receiving permanent protection.

The House bill will exclude Dreamers who entered after June 15, 2007, who entered at any age over 15, or who were over the age of 31 on June 15, 2017 (or 37 today). By the time the bill is implemented, people who had been residing in the United States for 10 or 11 years would be excluded from receiving status under the bill. The bill also requires a high school degree or equivalent or high school enrollment if the applicant is younger than 18. These restrictions were also in DACA, but the new bill would go even further to restrict eligibility. An applicant would be disqualified for having more than a single non-traffic-related misdemeanor, including immigration-related offenses; ever having missed an immigration court appearance; or having ignored an order to leave the country.

The biggest new restriction would be the requirement that Dreamers who are not students, disabled, or primary caregivers demonstrate that they can maintain an income of at least 125 percent of the poverty line. Not only do many Dreamers have incomes beneath this threshold, but also, if they have already lost DACA or never applied, it will be impossible for them to receive a legal job offer or demonstrate legal employment for the purposes of their application. This creates a catch-22 for applicants: prove you can support yourself in order to get work authorization in order to support yourself. (This provision should also concern employers which could see their records become the focus of government attention.)

In addition, receiving status under this bill will be far more expensive than receiving status under DACA. The bill would impose a fine—what the bill refers to as a border security fee—of $1,000. In addition, applicants would need to pay a fee to cover the cost of their application. DACA also had an application fee of $495, but the fee under this new bill would likely be more than double that because it requires an in-person interview and a medical examination. This will make the legalization more like applying for permanent residence, which costs $1,225. All told, applicants would need to pay about $2,225—4.5 times as much as DACA. This comes on top of any attorney fees. Many DACA applicants cite the cost as a primary challenge. MPI’s analysis also points to income as “strongly affecting” Dreamers’ ability to apply.

Finally, the bill would impose a 1-year filing deadline. This means that applicants would have just one year to gather their information, find an attorney, and save $2,225 to apply. For comparison, only 64 percent of DACA applicants submitted applications in the first 13 months of the program. This time limit will needlessly suppress applications.

Why Relatively Few Dreamers Would Even Receive Temporary Relief

In January 2018, the Migration Policy Institute used the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey to estimate that there were 1.3 million Dreamers eligible for DACA. Another 120,000 were too young to apply for DACA, but would be eligible under this legislation so long as they were enrolled in school. However, this eligible population must be reduced based on the new requirements. We estimate conservatively that the income threshold would exclude about 15 percent of the DACA eligible population. This figure is based on the share of Central American immigrants who entered between 1982 and 2007 who are below 125 percent of the poverty line, are not in school, and are not unable to work due to disability or being the primary caregiver, as recorded in the 2017 Current Population Survey.

The misdemeanor requirement is more difficult to place a precise number to, but the government says that 17,079 DACA recipients have at least two arrests, assuming that 75 percent of those arrests ended in conviction. That would reduce 12,809, or 2 percent of the DACA recipient population. Assuming that this rate would apply to the DACA eligible population as a whole (even though it is more likely that that population has more convictions that the DACA population itself), this would reduce the eligible population by another 26,000. Thus, the maximum number of Dreamers initially eligible for status under the House bill is 1.17 million. Even this is likely an overestimate because we cannot estimate how much the noncriminal restrictions (e.g. prior removal orders, false claims of U.S. citizenship, etc.) could further reduce the eligible population.

Even fewer will actually apply. Even after six years of DACA, only 61.4 percent of the eligible population applied for and received DACA. While the promise of a pathway to citizenship could result in a higher participation rate, other elements in this bill will suppress application rates, neutralizing the greater incentives to apply. Furthermore, the initial status is temporary, and the pathway to citizenship is not guaranteed. In fact, unless Congress funds the border wall repeatedly in future years, the path to citizenship would never materialize at all. Moreover, the fact that the cost will be about 450 percent higher will prevent many Dreamers from applying (as noted above).

Many Dreamers failed to apply for DACA because they didn’t realize that they were eligible, believing that they had to have finished high school or that those who had been ordered to leave the country could not sign up. This bill’s new and more complex eligibility requirements will only introduce more confusion. The risk of a denial may keep some from taking the risk to apply. Nearly 8 percent of applicants for DACA were rejected.

The uncertainty and distrust associated with the Trump administration’s enforcement actions would only add to the concern about handing over information. As we’ve noted before, many Dreamers expressed concern that their application could be used to target their families. The House bill attempts to address this fear by limiting how their application information can be used, but it amplifies the fear in other areas by providing enforcement resources and new legal authorities to the administration to speed up deportations. A future Congress could change this privacy protection at any time, and at this point, few immigrants may trust the administration to follow this type of technical “firewall.”

According to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), the last major legalization—the 1986 amnesty—had only a two-thirds participation rate, despite the less strict criteria than the ones contained in BSIF. Ultimately, we conservatively chose to use the CBO’s higher rate of 67 percent, rounding it up to 70 percent—10 percentage points higher than DACA’s initial enrollment rate. Based on this analysis, we can conclude that at most 820,000 Dreamers would receive initial legal status under the House GOP proposal.

Why Relatively Few Dreamers Would Receive Permanent Residence & Citizenship

Under DACA, which had no additional requirements at all to extend status other than maintaining residence in the United States for another two years, just 85 percent of initial enrollees maintained status through the end of the program. Some of this drop-off can be explained by people failing to graduate high school for a variety of reasons, but the additional cost is important as well. Under the House bill, applicants for extension of their temporary status would be required to pay a fee of another $1,225 fee (2.5 times more than DACA) and have stayed in the United States for another 6 years. Assuming this rate remains roughly the same, only 698,620 would likely end up receiving an extension under the House bill.

After receiving the extension, Dreamers—as well as some legal immigrant Dreamers*—would be able to apply for a pathway to permanent residence. The bill creates a complex points system that will prioritize applications from those with more education, longer work histories, or better language skills. But the minimum threshold for points is low enough that anyone who qualified for the initial status would be eligible to apply. Of course, there is not a strong incentive even to apply for this status, and the cost of applying for permanent residence is another $1,225. They would have to apply over the course of a 15-year period, starting five years after the initially received status. We assume that about 90 percent would apply for permanent residence. Thus, only 628,758 Dreamers would likely receive permanent residence—a path to citizenship—under the House proposal.

Finally, only about two thirds of those who receive permanent residence are likely to apply for citizenship. While Dreamers are probably more likely to apply for citizenship than other immigrants, immigrants from Mexico and Central America are much less likely to apply for citizenship than immigrants from other countries—all have naturalization rates below 50 percent—and 89 percent of DACA recipients are from Central America or Mexico. These two facts work in opposite directions, leading us to assume that Dreamers will naturalize at the average rate for all immigrants—67 percent. Based on this assumption, just 421,268 immigrants are likely to become U.S. citizens under the House compromise bill.

Conclusion

In the best case scenario, the House GOP plan would likely provide a pathway to citizenship to fewer than 630,000 Dreamers—barely a third of the president’s promise in January and just 18 percent of the entire Dreamer population. Moreover, only an estimated 421,000 immigrants are likely to become citizens.

If Congress wants to fulfill the president’s promise of a pathway to citizenship for 1.8 million Dreamers, it would need to institute a broader legalization program for Dreamers with as few risks and costs, and as little confusion, as possible. Congress would also need to provide legal certainty in some form for their parents to mitigate fear of coming forward. Members of Congress should also not exaggerate the extent of the legalization of Dreamers as part of a strategy to justify questionable policy choices, including reducing legal immigration and eliminating several immigration categories.

Table 2 compares the eligibility criteria and requirements under the BSIF Act to those under DACA and the Securing America’s Future (SAF) Act, which is the other bill under consideration this week.

Table 2: Comparison of Pathways to Status & Citizenship Under House Bills and DACA

*The legal immigrant Dreamers would slightly increase the eligible population, but there are so few who would meet the requirements (10 years of continuous residency before the bill passes plus 5 or 6 more after it is implemented) that it would not substantially alter these numbers. In any case, the estimates of the Dreamer population from MPI could include people in temporary statuses that have characteristics similar to those without status (inability to access welfare or receive certifications for legal employment).

Source: 82% of Dreamers Won’t Benefit from House Bill’s Citizenship Path

ICYMI: ‘Dreamers’ unlikely to rush to claim asylum in Canada, immigration experts say

Good survey of opinions:

Canadians shouldn’t expect another flood of asylum seekers to illegally cross the border in the wake of the Trump administration’s decision to scrap a program designed to protect young, undocumented immigrants in the United States, immigration experts say.

The situation of the roughly 800,000 so-called Dreamers, undocumented immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children, is very different from that of the Haitians and other asylum seekers who’ve been coming to Canada in large numbers via irregular border crossings, said Ottawa immigration lawyer Ronalee Carey.

For one thing, it’s still unclear whether the Dreamers will actually face deportation from the U.S. once the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program ends six months from now.

“If I was a DACA recipient, I would not be trying to come to Canada irregularly,” Carey said. “I think they should sit tight and wait and see what happens.”

U.S. President Donald Trump has given Congress six months to come up with a solution for the Dreamers, so-called because of the proposed DREAM Act, voted down in the Senate in 2010, which would have offered them legal status in exchange for joining the military or attending college. DACA is a stopgap measure, implemented by the Obama administration, that has shielded the Dreamers from deportation but has not given them a path to citizenship.

On Tuesday evening, Trump tweeted that he will “revisit this issue” if Congress is unable to “legalize DACA” in the next six months. A majority of Americans believe Dreamers, many of whom have grown up speaking English and have attended American universities, should be allowed to stay in the U.S.

Carey said it would be a “huge mess” if the Trump administration actually tried to deport the 800,000 undocumented young people.

“That was a smart tweet on his part to sort of take back a little bit,” she said.

If some DACA recipients do head north, they will be very unlikely to meet the criteria for refugee status in Canada, she said. But some could come to Canada through normal immigration streams, like the Express Entry program for skilled workers, which would give them a path to permanent residence. Others could come as international students if they have the money, Carey said. In fact, at least one Canadian post-secondary institution is already trying to capitalize on the opportunity. Huron University College, in London, Ont., announced Wednesday it will be offering a $50,000 scholarship for students affected by the DACA decision.

Even if some Dreamers do decide to brave the odds and seek refugee status in Canada, most wouldn’t need to cross the border illegally to do so, she said, because of an exception in the Safe Third Country Agreement. Most would-be refugees who try to enter Canada from the U.S. can be turned away at official border crossings and told to make their asylum claims in the U.S., which is why so many have been coming into Canada at unauthorized points. But Mexicans, who account for about 70 per cent of DACA recipients, are exempted from this rule because they don’t need a visa to come to Canada. They can claim asylum at any border checkpoint, Carey said.

Independent Senator Ratna Omidvar said she has spoken to a number of Dreamers in recent days, and they seem less inclined to seek asylum in Canada than to look at immigrating through other channels.

“That was the least attractive to them,” she said. “They see themselves in a different way.”

Still, Omidvar said Canada should look at taking in 10,000 to 30,000 DACA recipients over the next several years, though she doesn’t believe the government needs to create a special program for them. She compared the Dreamers to the draft dodgers who came to Canada in the 1960s to escape the Vietnam War.

“I feel that Canadians have a huge amount of empathy and compassion, but their empathy for young people is always louder,” she said.

Irene Bloemraad, a sociology professor at the University of California Berkeley who specializes in immigration, said she doesn’t expect floods of Dreamers to make their way to Canada immediately, but it could be an appealing prospect if Congress fails to come up with a solution in the coming months.

“I don’t think there’s going to be hundreds of thousands of people coming north,” she said. “But I think there’s going to be interest.”

She believes Canada should create a special provision to fast-track DACA recipients who want to come north as skilled workers, students or asylum seekers. What Canadians dislike, she said, “is when you have unanticipated numbers of people crossing the borders and then claiming asylum. … But when those flows can be structured in a way, then I think Canadians are very, very generous.”

The issue has come up at a sensitive time for the Canadian government, with NAFTA negotiations underway between Canada, the U.S. and Mexico. Asked about a potential influx of Dreamers to Canada, Hursh Jaswal, spokesperson for Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen, said the government “won’t speculate on any possible future trends.”

But Bloemraad said Canada needs to look ahead. “Even if the Canadian government is worried about how being proactive with regards to the DACA recipients might have complications for NAFTA negotiations, the alternative, not doing anything, is going to create much bigger policy problems down the road.”

Andy Semotiuk, a Canadian and U.S. immigration lawyer, said Canada has other immigration hurdles to face beyond the DACA recipients. He pointed to the 260,000 Salvadorans and 86,000 Hondurans whose temporary protected status in the U.S. is set to expire, saying the trend of illegal migration to Canada could become “overwhelming.”

Liberal MP Pablo Rodriguez is set to go to Los Angeles this week to try and head off that possible next wave of migrants by correcting misinformation about Canada’s immigration system.

Source: ‘Dreamers’ unlikely to rush to claim asylum in Canada, immigration experts say | National Post

Canada should welcome up to 30,000 DACA young people facing deportation in U.S. – Senator Omidvar

As long as they come through the regular immigration program, meet the requirements, and are part of current levels, suspect most Canadians would be comfortable with accepting Dreamers:

Canada could gain from the Trump administration’s decision to end a program that has allowed young, undocumented immigrants to remain in the United States for years, says Ontario Independent Sen. Ratna Omidvar.

In an interview on CBC News Network’s Power & Politics, Omidvar said the program’s beneficiaries are precisely the kind of immigrants Canada should be pursuing for its economic migrant program.

“These individuals are low-hanging fruit for us,” Omidvar told host Rosemary Barton. “They speak fluent English, they’ve been educated in the U.S., most of them have been to college or university, some of them have work experience. They understand the North American working culture.”

“On top of that, in order to qualify to be a ‘Dreamer’ you have to have biometrics testing, you have to have a criminality check. So this is America’s loss but it could be Canada’s gain.”

People who reside in the U.S. under this program are often called “Dreamers” after the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act (DREAM). The bill was crafted to help those brought to the U.S. as children by allowing them to live there providing they graduate from school and have no criminal record.

The act has been struggling to become law since 2001, and has often seemed close to bipartisan success. But in recent years more Republicans have turned against it.

The estimated 800,000 young people who migrated to the U.S. illegally with their parents and are now living there under the DACA program face deportation to a country they now have little connection with, after U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced Tuesday the Trump administration would rescind DACA.

Omidvar proposes that Canada give “special consideration” to 10,000 to 30,000 of these young people either through the existing economic stream or as international students.

An opportunity for Canada

“We know that international students have already been identified by our system as priorities for permanent residency,” said Omidvar. “And in truth, we have not done so well in turning an aspiration into a reality because most international students still choose to go back.

“So, here are people who could apply for international student programs. Universities and colleges could come up with some special initiative or special outreach — college-to-college, university-to-university — maybe even a special scholarship program. But over time, they would be top of the line for economic integration,” Omidvar added.

While Omidvar is sensitive to the fact that Canada is in the midst of complex trade negotiations with both the U.S. and Mexico (the country of origin for many DACA young people) she says if Canada fails to reach out, other countries could reap the benefits:

“Just as this is an opportunity for Canada, it is also an opportunity for other countries — including source countries of origin like Mexico and other Latin American countries.

“These young people have resiliency. They understand how the American system works. They understand American insecurities and securities. And if their personal safety can be guaranteed in source countries, maybe this is the new elite that will participate in nation building in those countries which their parents left, 20-plus years ago.”

Larry Smith, the Conservative leader in the Senate, declined to comment.

The Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program is a temporary reprieve from deportation, renewable every two years (for a fee), but has no path to citizenship.

Canada should welcome up to 30,000 DACA young people facing deportation in U.S., senator says – Politics – CBC News

Apple, Facebook, Google and scores of businesses are imploring President Trump to protect the Dreamers – Recode

Yet another example where Trump is forcing corporations to take a stand:

The chief executives of Apple, Amazon, Facebook and Google joined roughly 300 business leaders urging President Donald Trump late Thursday to continue protecting children brought illegally to the United States from being deported.

Since 2012, the U.S. government has allowed those children — young adults now known as Dreamers — to continue living in the country as long as they obtain and renew work permits under a program called Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA.

But Trump on Friday is expected to eliminate that legal shield entirely. Months after promising to approach the issue with “great heart,” the president reportedly is expected to order the government to cease granting work permits for undocumented young adults to stay. Meanwhile, the roughly 800,000 currently registered in DACA would not be allowed to obtain additional work authorizations once their current approvals expire.

The move would fulfill one of Trump’s most controversial promises from the 2016 presidential campaign — yet it already is prompting a wide array of businesses to issue a collective rebuke of the White House.

“Dreamers are vital to the future of our companies and our economy. With them, we grow and create jobs,” wrote the corporate executives in a joint letter. “They are part of why we will continue to have a global competitive advantage.”

The missive was organized by FWD.us, the immigration reform group backed by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. Other signers include the leaders of Airbnb, LinkedIn, Lyft and Netflix, as well as Laurene Powell Jobs, the founder of the Emerson Collective, and some executives outside of the tech industry, like Mary Barra, the CEO of General Motors.

In a post on his own Facebook, meanwhile, Zuckerberg himself stressed: “We need a government that protects Dreamers.”

“Today I join business leaders across the country in calling on our president to keep the DACA program in place and protect Dreamers from fear of deportation,” he continued. “We’re also calling on Congress to finally pass the Dream Act or another permanent, legislative solution that Dreamers deserve.”

Broadly, Trump’s expected announcement may only worsen his already strained relationship with corporate America. In August, a number of high-profile executives opted to stop advising him on economic issues because of his comments on a different matter: The neo-Nazi violence in Charlottesville, Va.

In Silicon Valley, though, the move toward ending DACA adds to a special, longer-running strain between tech titans and the Trump administration. Immigration is an issue of immense personal and professional importance to the tech industry, which employs a number of foreign workers and long has sought to hire more. Other tech engineers have families abroad, and some of the region’s founders and executives themselves are immigrants who have tried, unsuccessfully, to sway Trump in recent months.

Previously, the likes of Apple, Facebook and Google had opposed the White House as it advanced policies to rethink high-skilled visa programs, limit legal immigration and halt incoming immigrants and refugees from Muslim-majority countries. And even before Trump announced his plans to end DACA, tech leaders pleaded with him to reconsider.

Earlier Thursday, Microsoft estimated that 27 of its workers — from engineers to sales associates — would be affected by the change to DACA. The company’s chief executive, Satya Nadella, even tried to issue an early plea to the White House: “We care deeply about the DREAMers who work at Microsoft and fully support them,” he said. “We will always stand for diversity and economic opportunity for everyone.”

Uber, meanwhile, similarly came to the defense of the Dreamers, noting in a statement that their “contributions make America more competitive and they deserve the opportunity to work, study, and pursue the American dream.” The defense of DACA comes days after Uber appointed a new chief executive, Dara Khosrowshahi, who himself is an immigrant from Iran — and a fierce critic of Trump’s approach to those issues.

Trump’s expected announcement comes partly in response to 10 state attorneys general, which threatened to take the administration to court over DACA if it did not eliminate the program by Sept. 5. Going forward, though, Congress can still codify the program into law, but lawmakers long have struggled in that aim.

“The 800,000 people, and dreamers like them, they deserve a permanent legislative solution,” stressed Todd Schulte, the leader of FWD.us, in an interview late Thursday. He said lawmakers had a choice — pass a law or risk become “a nation that says we’re going to see hundreds of thousands of people pushed out of the workforce.”

Initially, Trump himself appeared to waver on the issue, a fierce opponent of DACA during the campaign who later said, as president, he would approach the Dreamers with “great heart.”

Ahead of the decision, tech executives had been some of the more vocal, aggressive lobbyists on behalf of preserving DACA. In June, for example, Apple CEO Tim Cook specifically urged Trump to show compassion for the Dreamers. The private comments came at a reception to conclude the first day of Trump’s “tech week,” a five-day focus on ways to modernize the government with the industry’s help.

Source: Apple, Facebook, Google and scores of businesses are imploring President Trump to protect the Dreamers – Recode

Migrants with no status in the U.S. battle anxiety as they await Trump’s next move

Good analysis of potential future waves of border crossers – current measures and resources likely inadequate:

In the U.S. immigration debate, it’s called “twilight status,” and for many who hold it, the light is flickering and fading.

Unlike Canada or Mexico, which both routinely deport almost anyone without a valid visa, the U.S. government allows otherwise-illegal immigrants to remain without legal status — sheltered under various forms of government sufferance.

About 59,000 Haitians received Temporary Protected Status (TPS), a U.S. government waiver exempting them from deportation to their devastated homeland, after a catastrophic earthquake struck near Port-au-Prince in 2010.

That waiver was renewed several times by the Obama administration, which judged that Haiti was not ready to absorb returnees.

Then this summer, Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly (now White House chief of staff) signed off on a very short renewal — six months — letting it be known that there would probably be no more extensions.

“This six-month extension should allow Haitian TPS recipients living in the United States time to attain travel documents and make other necessary arrangements for their ultimate departure from the United States,” he said.

Fuelled by rumours Canada would be more sympathetic, many Haitians headed north — crossing to Hemmingford, Que., at a rate of about 250 people a day.

The Haitians are just one group among many that could soon be shown the door in the U.S., and might then show up on Canada’s doorstep.

On Sunday, Prime Justin Trudeau spoke about the “situation at the border at Saint-Bernard-de-Lacolle,” saying “entering Canada irregularly is not an advantage,” and that rules will be enforced to safeguard against security risks.

The Government of Canada is planning outreach efforts with Haitian communities in both Canada and the U.S., said Nancy Chan, a spokesperson for Citizens and Immigration Canada (CIC).

“We are taking a number of proactive measures to counter misinformation regarding Canada’s asylum system, including using social media,” said Chan.

Living on a waiver

Life on a deportation waiver is not easy.

First of all, the waivers are not free. Haitians were asked to pay $495 US for their six-month extension if they wanted the right to work. That’s one reason many chose to invest the money in a ticket to Canada. (Some did renew their waivers, and Canada may see a second wave of Haitians arrive when their final deadline of January 22 approaches).

The waivers also do not provide a pathway to permanent legal residency. The Haitians who fled into Quebec have always known they were living on borrowed time.

‘The countries that are facing the end of their grant under TPS are the ones who feel most under the gun’– Julia Gelatt, senior policy analyst at the Migration Policy Institute

Citizens of ten countries currently hold TPS in the U.S.: El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras, Nepal, Nicaragua, Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan, Syria and Yemen.

Nicaraguans and Hondurans received protected status in 1999 as a result of Hurricane Mitch, but it applies only to people already in the U.S. when the hurricane struck.

All of those 10 waivers come up for renewal at some point in the next 13 months, and the Trump administration seems likely to allow at least some of them to die.

But Chan did not answer a question about how the Canadian government would deal with other groups: “We will not speculate on future scenarios.”

Cancelling waivers sending people north

An estimated 317,000 people live on TPS waivers. More than half of them are Salvadorans granted TPS following the earthquake of 2001; they are facing a renewal decision by March next year. The remainder are mostly Hondurans and Haitians, who both face a renewal decision in January.

But TPS is not the only kind of twilight status, says Julia Gelatt, senior policy analyst at the Migration Policy Institute in Washington.

“There are a number of other categories you could also put in there. There are people who are applying for different kinds of visas, such as a U visa for crime victims or a T visa for victims of trafficking.”

“A lot of people who are in these categories are pretty confident their visa is coming, as opposed to people in TPS whose programs are being reconsidered, and cancellation is a more imminent concern.”

Also in March next year, a different waiver program called Deferred Enforced Departure will come to an end leaving about 14,000 Liberians (most of whom fled their country’s civil war years ago) with a tough decision to make.

“The countries that are facing the end of their grant under TPS are the ones who feel most under the gun,” says Gelatt. “There’s this looming deadline.”

If those migrants suddenly lose their legal status in the U.S., they could head for Canada.

The ‘Dreamers’

These groups, however, are dwarfed by a class of people referred to as “Dreamers,” named for the oft-introduced but never-approved DREAM Act.

The Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act (DREAM), was crafted to help those brought to the U.S. as children by allowing them to live in the country where they grew up providing they graduate from school and have no criminal record. About 65,000 kids in this category graduate from U.S. high schools annually.

The DREAM Act has been struggling to become law since 2001, and has often seemed close to bipartisan success. But in recent years more Republicans have turned against it.

In the meantime, the Dreamers must get by with a less secure status called Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) — a temporary reprieve, renewable every two years (at a fee), with no path to citizenship.

There are about 840,000 young people living on DACA waivers in the US.

U.S. President Donald Trump repeatedly said during the campaign that he would end the DACA program, and since his inauguration a handful of Dreamers have been arrested and held in detention, despite having paperwork that says they are enrolled.

Most threatening of all for the Dreamers, though, is the lawsuit threatened by Texas and nine other states. They have given the Trump administration a deadline of September 5 to shelve the program or face a court challenge for executive overreach. (In over three-quarters of cases, Dreamers were brought to the U.S. from Mexico.)

If Trump keeps his campaign promise, and ends the DACA program, all of the people currently covered by DACA would lose their status over the next two years.

It is not difficult to imagine that many Dreamers, who typically speak English as their first language, might prefer to try their luck in Canada than face deportation to a homeland they can hardly remember.

Source: Migrants with no status in the U.S. battle anxiety as they await Trump’s next move – Politics – CBC News