Dreamers Shouldn’t Lose DACA Status When They Follow the Rules

This fall, the Trump administration announced the end of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which offers young undocumented people who came to this country as children temporary permission to work and live here. The decision threw the lives of hundreds of thousands of young immigrants into crisis. The president has repeatedly insisted that there’s “nothing to worry about” and that Dreamers can rest easy while Congress works on a legislative fix.

But that’s proven to be false.

By Christmas, about 13,500 young people will have lost their DACA status since the administration began letting DACA permits expire on Sept.  5. On average, another 122 young people are now losing DACA every day. If Congress doesn’t come up with a solution immediately, a thousand more will start losing their status each day starting in March.

We’re also seeing the Trump administration target Dreamers who haven’t broken the program’s rules by revoking their DACA status even before their permits expire. Dreamers have lost their jobs, their driver’s licenses, and their ability to support themselves and their loved ones. They’ve been locked up in immigration jails and threatened with deportation.

Tell Congress to pass the Dream Act now

Yesterday, the ACLU was back to court in a nationwide class action to make sure Dreamers benefit from every remaining day of their DACA status, as the government promised. We represent Dreamers like José Gil, a 24-year-old man from Coon Rapids, Minnesota, who’s lived in the United States since he was five years old. José is an active member of his church, an altar server in high school, and a volunteer in helping to rebuild a church in New York destroyed by Hurricane Sandy.

The federal government granted him DACA status twice, in 2015 and 2017. That  allowed him to work as a bakery manager and for a logistics company, and he used his earnings to help support his five younger U.S. citizen siblings and to start saving for college. José was also able to get a driver’s license, which allowed him to drive to work and church, and to give his siblings rides to school.

In September, José was arrested by local police and later charged with a misdemeanor for driving on a cancelled license because he allegedly did not complete the required “status check” for his driver’s license after his DACA was renewed this year. José was released from police custody the next day and returned to his job and family. But a month later, ICE showed up at his work, put him in an immigration jail, and filed a deportation case against him.

This resulted in the termination of his DACA — even though his charge for driving on an expired license does not disqualify him from the program. José was locked up for month in an immigration jail before a judge granted him release on bond. But José still doesn’t have his DACA back.

The ACLU is aware of at least 16 other Dreamers like José who have been stripped of their DACA status even though they continue to satisfy the program’s rules. In November, the federal court restored the DACA of another plaintiff in our case, Jesús Arreola, who was also terminated from the program even though he continued to meet its rules. We’re now asking the federal court to extend its ruling nationwide and prohibit the Trump administration from rescinding  DACA for  anyone who still qualifies for the program, without any notice, explanation, or an opportunity to respond. Everyone entitled to DACA should be allowed to keep it for whatever time they have left on their DACA grant.

But at the end of the day, the DACA program is ending, and it was never  good enough for Dreamers like José and Jesús. The hundreds of thousands of young people like them deserve a path to resolve their legal status once and for all. That’s why Congress must pass the bipartisan Dream Act immediately. Only Congress can make sure that hardworking people like José and Jesús — who are American in every way but on paper — become full members of the country they know and love as their home.

If you or someone you know have had DACA unfairly revoked, please contact the ACLU at DACArevoked@aclu.org.

View comments (23)
Read the Terms of Use

Dr. Timothy Leary

I'm a dreamer too. I'm dreaming of the day when Trump is not president anymore.

Nordonia Nate

The new Rip Van Winkle ladies and gentlemen

Nordonia Name

Mid January, 2025.

Dr. Timothy Leary

I get it Nate. You are one of those Trumpniks.

Anonymous

Go to hell.

Peter

His "5 US citizen siblings"? Where are the parents? They are probably the same illegals like himself incapable of doing noting better but crossing the border and dumping their offspring to this country.

Anonymous

Or maybe they’re dead. Or have been deported & separated from their family. Yeah, “nothing better,” than trying to give their “offspring” a better life than their impoverished country couldn’t offer.

Anonymous

Agreed. Deport all dreamers and their families

Anonymous

"Doing noting better but crossing the border and dumping their offspring to this country"? Are you serious? Besides the fact you spelled nothing wrong, how are you so ignorant? His parents came here, to this country, to give him a better life. They've had to work every day of their lives, worried about their family's future. They've had to endure so much just to live a decent life, because being illegal in America is still better than living in a country raging in war and poverty. Please have some decency and respect. Even though it breaks my heart and angers me that there are people full of hate like you, God bless you. Sincerely, a DACA Dreamer who got into Princeton.

Anonymous

I gave up on ACLU long time ago. And I know of lot of people sharing the same feeling. I have colleagues at work who are legal immigrants, and had to send their kids back to their home country when the kid turned 21. Yet, without they complied with law without any complains and are still patiently waiting for their turn in the line.

I don't see a simple ACLU story describing the plight of legal immigrants in this country. At this point I view ACLU as the mouth piece of corporate America.

Pages

Stay Informed