Legislation introduced to protect DREAMers’ DACA data

As is common knowledge (and a matter of great dispute) the Trump Administration has issued an Executive Orders pertaining to immigration, including an EO suspending the issuance of visas for travelers from 7 countries (Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Iran, Somalia, Libya and Yemen.)

Prior to the issuance of the Executive Orders there was quite a bit of speculation regarding whether or not an EO would be issued rescinding Obama’s DACA EO that granted temporary deferred lawful status to young people who were brought to  United States as dependents of undocumented immigrants (or in the parlance of U.S. statutory law “illegal aliens”.)  Despite these fears, none of the EO’s that were issued rescinded or addressed DACA.  At present DACA still stands and indications are that applications are continuing to be processed and approved applications are still valid.

Although the Trump Administration’s non-action has brought a certain level of relief to DACA beneficiaries, it does not alleviate the anxiety about the long-term prospects of granting some form of official-legislative pathway for legal status.

In the absence of any official legislative fix or an EO extension by the Trump Administration, a particular concern of DACA beneficiaries’ is the DACA data that was voluntarily submitted as a part of the voluntary application process  potentially could be used by immigration authorities to locate them and initiate deportation proceedings.

Although there has been no indication from the Trump Administration that they will go down that path, Democrat Senators have introduced legislation that restricts the potential use of DACA data for immigration enforcement.  Known as the “Protect DREAMer Confidentiality Act of 2017” the Act would protect individual DACA application information from being disclosed to immigration authorities for any purpose other than implementing the DACA program and that individuals who have been deferred under DACA can not to be referred to any law enforcement agencies. It should be noted that three exception allow DACA information to be shared with law enforcement agencies (to identify or prevent fraudulent claims, for particularized national security purposes relating to a DACA application, for the investigation or prosecution of any felony not related to immigration status.)

Although this proposed legislation may be well intentioned, the prospects of passage would appear to be bleak.  This bill does not have one Republican co-sponsor, and within the context of the highly polarized climate in Washington, that would appear to be a death knell for the bill.

The best hope for addressing the status of childhood arrivals still appears to be the passage comprehensive legislation.  There appears to be bi-partisan sentiment for passing some sort of remedial legislation for the childhood arrival cohort. But the larger question is whether the Republicans and Democrats can agree on any such legislation–with it being understood that it will need to acquire the approval of at least some segment of the Republican members of the U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives.

 

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