Failed immigration reform and leaves immigrant children in great peril and DACA is not a final answer

Undocumented immigrant children face uncertain futures and DACA is not enough enough!

Undocumented immigrant children face uncertain futures and DACA is not enough enough!

Waiting for comprehensive immigration reform has been at the very least, frustrating. More concerning is the danger that young children may face when arriving in the U.S. by themselves, hoping to be allowed to stay in the U.S. and be reunited with relatives in the states. Meanwhile the political games in Congress have more and more Americans absolutely fed up with empty promises that immigration reform is a priority and relief is forthcoming. Children who are brought into the U.S. at young ages have no control over what may happen to them. Furthermore, Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”) is unable to manage the large number of child arrivals and the conditions in which undocumented children are being kept is a human rights atrocity.

Here is a general breakdown of the stalled progress of comprehensive immigration reform:

The Senate passed the Comprehensive Immigration Reform bill last July[i]. The bill failed in the House of Representatives and one of the main reasons was GOP concerns for southern border security. Meanwhile, President Obama was urged to take executive action and he ordered a DHS report with recommendations. Last month, the President told DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson to hold off with the findings so House Republicans could pass an immigration reform bill. Recently, House Majority Leader, Eric Cantor was voted out and replaced by a TEA party candidate many believe will not cooperate with existing reform efforts.

White House responded to concerns that immigration reform is now a dead issue: “Our strategy has not changed,” says White House communications director Jennifer Palmieri. “The impetus for action remains on the House.[ii]” While the world watches and waits for House action, young children are at risk.

Young children have no control over the fact they are “illegal.”

Children need many things including safety, shelter, food, clothing and a loving environment. For some, shelter and food are a daily struggle, and safety concerns make daily life extremely challenging for young children in parts of the world. Young children do not understand the idea of “illegal immigration.” In many cases, family members hear reports that the U.S. is a safe haven and if families make it through their treacherous journeys to U.S. soil, their children are allowed to stay. This is not the law and this is not true. Children arriving in the U.S. may, however, be allowed to postpone deportation through the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (“DACA”) policy temporarily protecting qualifying children from removal to their native country. DACA only functions to delay deportation.

DACA does not provide actual legal status.

DACA is only a deferment and delay of deportation for the children who qualify for relief under the policy. People need to understand that this program DOES NOT PROVIDE LEGAL STATUS. Even though a child may be able to renew their DACA participant status does not mean they may continue to stay in the U.S. without proper immigration status[iii].

DACA does not go far enough to protect children.  

While young immigrants temporarily may be able to delay being deported, there is not enough protection for innocent children. Recently many children have arrived on U.S. soil alone and unaccompanied by a parent or family member who may not be eligible for DACA relief. Often, neither the children nor family members helping them come to the U.S. understand that DACA participation is contingent upon meeting eligibility criteria and that renewals are NOT AUTOMATICALLY GRANTED.

Attorney KiKi M. Mosley works to help innocent child immigrants avoid being victims of a failed system.

Until the currently out of date immigration system of laws and policies is reformed, we can expect a continuous influx of children who are victims of injustice in their native countries and in the U.S. If you or someone you know needs immigration help, they may contact the Law Offices of KiKi M. Mosley in Chicago, Illinois.

Attorney KiKi M. Mosley is licensed to practice law by the State of Illinois and Louisiana. She is skilled and experienced in complex immigration law issues including DACA and related options for children arriving in the U.S. For more information about the law firm, please visit www.KiKisLaw.com, and do not forget to “Like” the firm on Facebook and “Follow” on Twitter. You can also review Attorney Mosley’s endorsements on her Avvo profile.

[i] POLITICO: Immigration reform bill 2013: Senate passes legislation 68-32. By Min Kim Seng, June 27, 2013.

[ii] ABC News: Obama Waiting for House GOP to Act on Immigration. By Josh Lederman, June 13, 2014.

[iii] United States Immigration and Immigration Services. Consideration for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.

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Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals and the American Dream: US fund to help DACA Recipients

"THEDREAM.US provides college scholarships to highly motivated DREAMers who, without financial aid, cannot afford a college education that will enable them to participate in the American workforce." http://thedream.us/

“THEDREAM.US provides college scholarships to highly motivated DREAMers who, without financial aid, cannot afford a college education that will enable them to participate in the American workforce.” http://thedream.us/

Approved Applicants of the DACA program are finally seeing some movement to help them attend institutions of higher education and live the American Dream.  There is a program for undocumented students called “TheDream.US” fund[i]. This scholarship program was created to match qualified DACA approved students with the money they need to pay for tuition, fees, and books. TheDream.US fund has already raised $25 million to help approximately 2,000 students over the next ten years, which comes out to $12,500 per scholarship recipient. To learn more about TheDream.US please visit their website.

Why apply for DACA when Immigration Reform is on the Horizon?

As hopes for comprehensive immigration reform wane, children of undocumented immigrants should know that they can still take advantage of a program that helps them obtain certain protections from deportation and also employment authorization.   Many watch as the Comprehensive Immigration Reform (“CIR”) bill is continuously put on hold for political reasons.  Congressional Democrats are focused on offering a path to citizenship for many undocumented immigrants and expired visa holders in the U.S. while Congressional Republicans seek better guarantees that southern border security will get the attention they feel it needs. Negotiation and compromise are on hold until after the November elections.   Please read our blog article, Problems and solutions in bipartisan immigration reform: is President Obama over a barrel? for more information on the current status of CIR.

The reality for many undocumented immigrants and those who has overstayed visas is that their parents brought them into the United States as children and now they find themselves in the only country they know without control over their ability to change their immigration circumstances.   The problem for these children is that without legal status they not only do not qualify for federal student loans and aid, they cannot legally work, and they live with the constant fear of deportation.

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (“DACA”) is a policy making it possible for undocumented immigrants to go to work and school without fear of deportation. 

DACA was created by President Obama’s administration and became effective on June 15, 2012[ii]. The Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”) issued orders to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (“CPB”), U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”), and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”) directing that they use the policy called “prosecutorial discretion” (read our article Prosecutorial Discretion in Immigration Enforcement) when addressing those who came to the U.S. as undocumented immigrant children and who still do not have a lawful immigration status. DACA provides a formal application process so that immigrants who meet all of their requirements of the DACA initiative may apply for this special immigration relief.

If approved, applicants for relief under DACA reprieve from their fear of deportation as  they will not be subjected to removal from the U.S. assuming that they meet DACA’s strict requirements that they not have any serious issues with law enforcement.  DACA does not provide a path to permanent residence at this time.  DACA is still available as many wait for CIR as promised by politicians on both sides of the aisle many times over.

Who is eligible for DACA?

From the DHS website[iii], the following is a list of criteria for DACA eligibility: 

  1. Have come to the United States under the age of sixteen;
  2. Have continuously resided in the United States for a least five years preceding the date of this memorandum  (June 15, 2012) and are present in the United States on the date of this memorandum (June 15, 2012;
  3. Are currently in school, have graduated from high school, have obtained a general education development certificate, or are honorably discharged veterans of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States;
  4. Have not been convicted of a felony offense, a significant misdemeanor offense, multiple misdemeanor offenses, or otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety;
  5. Are not above the age of thirty.

If you or someone you know may qualify for DACA relief and wants to go to college or work in the U.S. after finishing high school, you may contact the Law Offices of KiKi M. Mosley for assistance with their applications. Attorney KiKi M. Mosley is licensed to practice law by the State of Illinois and Louisiana. She is skilled and experienced in complex immigration law issues. For more information about the law firm, please tap/click here to visit the rest of the website, and do not forget to “Like” the firm on Facebook and “Follow” on Twitter or Google Plus.


[i] The Washington Post: Scholarship program to aid immigrants. Associated Press. Feb. 4, 2014

[ii] U.S. Department of Homeland Security: Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.

[iii] U.S. Department of Homeland Security: Eligibility for Deferred Action.