Tens of thousands of Koreans in the U.S. are in fear and uncertainty as they face an impending shutdown of a controversial immigration program that protected young people illegally brought to America by their parents from deportation.
U.S. President Donald Trump announced earlier this week that his administration will rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, a policy shielding undocumented immigrants that was instituted via an executive order by former U.S. President Barack Obama in 2012.
This dramatic shift in federal policy, which is set to take effect six months from now, is expected to impact an estimated 800,000 DACA beneficiaries, also known as dreamers, of which close to 20,000 are Koreans, according to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
This is dreadful news for many Korean families and communities throughout the country.
The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday rejected the Trump administration's request to hear its appeal of a California judge's ruling keeping the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program in place for now.
The high court's decision is raising questions about what it means for DACA's future and how it affects the roughly 700,000 young unauthorized immigrants who still have temporary work permits and deportation protection through the program. Here are some answers:
Q: What does the Supreme Court's decision mean?
Last month, a federal district judge in San Francisco temporarily blocked President Trump's decision to end the DACA program on March 5. The Trump administration then asked the high court for an expedited review of that lower court ruling.
In this decision, the Supreme Court said no. The high court very rarely grants such requests. The administration will need to follow the normal appeals court route and take its arguments to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco. If the administration is unhappy with the appellate court's decision, it can then appeal to the Supreme Court again.
Until that happens, the district court ruling remains in place and DACA recipients can continue to renew their work permits and deportation protections, although no new program applications will be accepted.
Lower courts in California and New York have not ruled on the merits of DACA but rather on whether the Trump administration acted legally in the way it rescinded the program.
Q: Does the Supreme Court's decision mean that DACA keeps going past March 5?
Yes, for now. There have been two recent temporary court injunctions, including the one issued in California, that direct the government to continue taking DACA renewal applications.
When President Trump rescinded DACA in early September, DACA recipients whose status was set to expire before March 5 were given a one-month window to renew their status for a final time. Those whose DACA permits were set to expire after March 5 were not allowed to renew them.
As a result of the lower-court injunctions, any DACA recipient who is eligible to renew for another two years may do so. Immigration officials are required to process their applications.
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An Iowa high school student who was sent back to Mexico by immigration authorities was killed three weeks after he returned to his home country, The Des Moines Register reported Thursday.
Manuel Antonio Cano Pacheco, 19, was expected to graduate from high school in Des Moines in May, but he drew the scrutiny of Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents after he was convicted of a misdemeanor drug charge last year. The student, who was brought to the U.S. without a visa by his family when he was three years old, had been protected by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA, under President Barack Obama.
After his conviction, as well as another for a separate misdemeanor charge, a judge vacated his protections.
“Based on his criminal convictions, his DACA status was terminated making him amenable to deportation,” Shawn Neudauer, an ICE spokesman, told The Hill.