LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) - Nearly 700,000 people are awaiting a decision that will change their lives.
The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) allows certain individuals who entered the United States unlawfully to receive deferred action from deportation, allowing them to gain a social security number and a work permit.
Also known as Dreamers, their fate in the United States has been in limbo since 2017 when former Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the program would end.
Local immigration attorney Ashley Foret Dees works with some of those Dreamers.
“When DACA was first announced to be rescinded, it really was devastating to a lot of young adults who had not yet applied for DACA, that qualify for DACA, and then for our current clients who are DACA recipients, it was very scary,” Dees said.
The administration’s move to pull DACA is now being discussed by the Supreme Court, who earlier this week heard oral arguments from both sides.
“What’s scary now is that I have DACA clients that you know are in undergraduate, in master’s program, in law school and they’re in law school because they currently have that DACA status right now and they’re able to maintain scholarships and continue to study lawfully," Dees said. "To take that away before someone graduates would be absolutely devastating.”
DACA status must be renewed every two years, including personal information such as their current address.
“They’re not living in the shadows anymore, they’re working, they’re lawful, they’re paying taxes and for that legal status, that ability to work, and to stay in the United States, for that to just abruptly end, while the United States government, to know exactly where you’re located, is very scary and troubling for them,” Dees said.
The Supreme Court’s ruling is expected in June 2020.