NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - A local migration expert said without DACA, young people in Louisiana and other states who came to the U.S. without legal papers will be thrust back into a world of limbo.
President Donald Trump declared DACA dead in a tweet and he blames democrats in Congress for the inability to reach a new deal.
"About 2,300 young people have received DACA in the state of Louisiana," said Susan Weishar, Ph.D., a migration specialist in the Jesuit Social Research Institute at Loyola University.
DACA stands for Deferred Action Childhood Arrivals. Then President Barack Obama put it in place to provide temporary protection against deportations for young people brought into the country illegally. They are known as "Dreamers."
"We have Dreamers at Loyola, they're fantastic. They work hard, they study hard, they love advancing their education," said Dr. Weishar.
Trump in declaring that DACA is dead blamed congressional democrats who shunned the deal he offered to protect millions of DACA recipients, in exchange for funding for his promised border wall.
"The Democrats have really let them down. They've really let 'em down. They had this great opportunity, the Democrats have really let them down...it's a shame," said the president Monday in an answer to reporters who shouted questions at him.
Dr. Weishar commented on the uncertainty that would befall "dreamers."
"They would have to go back to that state of limbo that they were in ever since they arrived here as children. And that is they won't be able to work legally, many will not be able to pursue an education even though they're not eligible for any student loans," she said.
The president urges republicans in Congress to pass stronger border laws, and he suggested more immigrants are flowing across the border in hopes of getting DACA protection.
"And now people are taking advantage of DACA and that's a shame. It should have never happened," said President Trump.
Dr. Weishar said that argument is flawed.
"He says that DACA's a magnet, but that doesn't make any sense. People aren't coming to DACA. You had to have been in the United States by the year 2007 to receive DACA, then you had to have entered under the age of 16, so people clearly are not coming for DACA," she said.
She said the president could revive DACA if he chooses.
"This is a crisis that he manufactured himself when he decided to suddenly end DACA in September 2017 and now he's saying no deal on DACA…He's sent a lot of mixed messages on this, you know, after the election he said he loved the Dreamers, he was going to do something that was going to make us all proud and happy, so I hope that he goes back to those sentiments," said Dr. Weishar.
She said comprehensive immigration reform that includes DACA and employment needs is needed. But she said the president's attacks on Mexico and threats about ending NAFTA are not helpful.
"The number of undocumented immigrants from Mexico has dropped by one million people over the last 10 years, but this is a problem that originates in other countries," Dr. Weishar stated.
Dr. Weishar also doubts there will be wholesale deportations of Dreamers. She thinks Congress will prevent that given public opinion polls in support of the DACA recipients.