Last day for DREAMers to apply for work permits

Published: Oct. 5, 2017 at 10:20 AM MST|Updated: Oct. 6, 2017 at 11:07 AM MST
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TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - Thursday, Oct. 5, is the deadline set by President Trump for DACA recipients to apply for 2-year renewals for work permits.

DACA recipients are young people who were brought to the United States as children but who, even though in the country illegally, will not be deported if they meet certain standards, such as pursuing an education, serving in the military, applying for and receiving a work permit and maintaining a clean police record.

They were given status by an Executive Order issued by President Obama in 2012.

President Trump pledged to rescind the order if elected but has failed to do so. He imposed a 6-month deadline to Congress to pass an alternative on Sept. 5.

But it also came with a deadline for present DACA recipients to extend their 2-year work permits to avoid the possibility of deportation.

While many did, many did not.

According to Tucson Immigration Attorney Selma Taljanovic it could be for a variety of reasons.

"Some may have found other ways to stay in the country," she said, "Such as marriage petition or they may be victims of crime, but the options are limited."

For some, they may have chosen the option of moving. Not moving out of the country but just finding a new place to live while returning to the shadows.

"The fear is when they submitted their applications, they provided names, addresses, all types of biographic information," she said. "It is in the realm of possibility that immigration could come" based on the information they voluntarily gave up.

Some of the applicants are in their 30s and do not want to live in fear the rest of their lives, but also are not sure if they could assimilate in a country they left as children.

"It's a very uncertain time, a very sad time," Taljanovic said. "Many are fearful"

There has been conversation in Washington that there may be some relief for DREAMers, but there have been few hints as to what it may look like and how much protection there may be.

In the meantime, many wonder what the future holds.

"What do I do, how do I go on living in a county when my future is completely uncertain?" is a question Taljanovic says she hears often. "What happens to me, my family, my spouse?"

A local group will gather to talk about what the future holds for DACA recipients on Thursday at 5:30 p.m., the day of the deadline for DREAMers to renew their status.

"Keep Tucson Together" will gather at Pueblo High School on the south side to talk to those in the program and their families about current legislation that could potentially replace DACA.

Last month, the White House said it would begin to phase out the program and gave Congress six months to act.

The focus at Thursday's event will be on the DREAM Act. Similar to DACA, the bill protects immigr ants who were illegally brought to the U.S. as children.

Organizers of "Keep Tucson Together" are pushing for a "clean" DREAM Act. Supporters want the bill to pass without strings attached.

Some "Dreamers" are worried they will be used as a bargaining chip for tighter immigration laws.

The DREAM Act has been introduced several times. Each time, it has failed to pass.

Over the summer, a bipartisan group of lawmakers reintroduced the bill. Click here to read it.

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