President Donald Trump’s decision to phase out an Obama administration program that is temporarily shielding young immigrants from deportation would affect 15,700 people in the Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell area, federal records show.
That represents a little more than 2 percent of the 689,800 people who were participating in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA, as of Sept. 4, according to a recent U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services report. In all, there are 21,600 DACA recipients in Georgia. Of those, 1,500 are from Gainesville.
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Federal lawmakers are weighing several options to continue the protections for DACA recipients. Some want to tie those measures to increased border enforcement and lower immigration levels. But many DACA recipients object to combining those issues and are pushing for a pathway to citizenship.
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More than just temporary protection from deportation is at stake in the debate. DACA recipients are also granted renewable two-year work permits. To be eligible for DACA, immigrants must have come to America before turning 16 and have no felony convictions.
Most DACA recipients – nearly 80 percent – came from Mexico. Most are female. The average age is just under 24. And most are single, though about 15 percent are married.
Jessica Colotl, a recipient of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, talks about immigration reform.