Carl Hintz | Correspondent

On Tuesday, September 5th, President Trump rescinded the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, DACA, an Obama-era policy that protected certain undocumented immigrants from deportation.

DACA protected about 800,000 people who came to the U.S. under the age of 16 and did not have legal status to live or work in the United States. North Carolina has the seventh highest number of people enrolled in DACA of any state, with more than 27,000 enrolled.

To qualify for DACA, recipients were required to show that they were currently in school, had graduated, obtained a GED, or had been honorably discharged from the Coast Guard or Armed Forces. Applicants could not have been convicted of any felonies or significant misdemeanors.

Unless a law is passed by Congress to protect former DACA recipients, as early as March 2018, former DACA recipients could face deportation.

One major concern for former DACA recipients is how the sensitive information that they shared with the US Government will be used. In applying for DACA, undocumented immigrants shared information such as address, employer, school and biometric data, which could potentially be used by the Department of Homeland Security to deport former DACA recipients or their family members.

In his statement on DACA, President Trump said, “I have advised the Department of Homeland Security that DACA recipients are not enforcement priorities unless they are criminals, are involved in criminal activity, or are members of a gang.”

Trump’s stated reason for ending DACA is that 10 states sued the federal government over DACA, arguing that the program is an executive overreach. Trump suggested that he hopes Congress will pass some form of immigration reform that includes protections for former DACA recipients.

“I am not going to just cut DACA off, but rather provide a window of opportunity for Congress to finally act,” Trump said.

There are several proposed laws that would provide protections to undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as children. The DREAM Act, the Recognizing America’s Children Act, known as RACA, the American Hope Act and the BRIDGE Act provide legal status to certain undocumented immigrants. The first three laws provide a path to citizenship.

Under the DREAM Act, sponsored by Senators Dick Durbin and Lindsey Graham, it would take at least 13 years for eligible participants to gain U.S. citizenship. Under RACA, sponsored by Representative Carlos Curbelo, it would take a total of ten years before a participant could apply for U.S. citizenship. The American Hope Act, sponsored by Representative Luis Gutierrez, after five years, a participant could apply for US citizenship.

The BRIDGE Act, sponsored by Representative Mike Coffman, would put the DACA program into law and would extend the program for three years, but would not provide any path to citizenship.

The DREAM Act and RACA both require certain educational, work or military service requirements. While the American Hope Act does not have work requirements, it does bar those who have committed certain crimes.

There may be enough votes in Congress to pass immigration reform legislation that protects former DACA recipients, but this depends on the legislation getting to a formal vote. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Paul Ryan both have a large influence over whether a proposed law will be brought to a vote.

According to a joint statement released by Senator Chuck Schumer and Representative Nancy Pelosi, President Trump has agreed to work out a law that writes DACA into law, but also increases funding for border security.

On the right, Trump supporters have criticized this proposal because it does not include a border wall. On the left, some immigrant activists and DACA recipients have expressed anger and concern over the potential deal, stating that they do not want to be used as bargaining chips in exchange for a border security or immigration enforcement package.


NC State students are encouraged to visit Student Legal Services in Pullen Hall for free legal services. Counseling and mental health services are also available through the Student Health Center.


A summary of these proposed bills in their current forms:


–First introduced in 2001

–Requires higher education, military service or continuous employment

–Students would be eligible for loans and work study

–Provides path to citizenship after 13 years

–Would apply to all childhood arrivals at least 4 years before enactment


Recognizing America’s Children Act (RACA)

–First introduced in 2017

–Requires higher education, military service or continuous employment

–Allows conditional green card status

–Provides path to citizenship after 10 years


American Hope Act

–First introduced in 2017

–No education, military service or employment requirements

–Supports DACA recipients in application process and improving English through grant programs

–Provides path to citizenship after 5 years

–Would apply to all childhood arrivals before December 31, 2016



–First introduced in 2016

–Extends DACA program for 3 years

–Requires education or military service

–No path to citizenship