Tina Vasquez, Rewire’s immigration reporter, joins host Lindsay Beyerstein to talk about the fate of the 800,000 young people who could face mass deportation now that President Donald Trump has called off the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, also known as DACA. Trump has given Congress six months to fix a legislative problem it has been unable to crack for the last 16 years, and the futures of these young people hang in the balance.
An edited excerpt:
Lindsay: One public opinion poll that I saw said that something like 15 percent of the country approves of canceling DACA. Does that give us any room to maneuver in terms of creating some kind of legislation, even a Band-aid of a Band-aid? I mean, DACA wasn’t that great to begin with, but even a temporary extension of DACA, statutorily?
Tina: I mean, I should hope so. The narrative that the media is using a lot is that a lot of DACA recipients were children when they came to the United States, and should they be deported, they will be deported to countries that they do not know. I mean, when you’re undocumented, as they were before receiving DACA, you can’t travel across borders, or else you can’t get back into the United States. And so they’re going to be sent back to countries that they don’t know, and families that they’ve maybe never met or haven’t seen, and so that has made people very empathetic for this particular population of immigrants. I hope that we will see something like DACA, or something like the DREAM Act pass, but then, you know, what happens for everyone else?
Lindsay: The Republicans have been using a lot of misinformation to kind of scare people and inflame popular passions against DACA and these kids. What’s some of the most egregious misinformation that you would like to correct?
Tina: Jeff Sessions, his speech was so unbelievable to me. I mean, he talked about how DACA actually makes the country more unsafe, and how DACA puts us at risk of terrorism, and said that it was almost like an act of compassion that he was rescinding DACA. It was just so unbelievable.
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