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Nearly 1 Million Immigrants Vulnerable as Trump Ponders Fate of DACA

© AP Photo / Susan WalshPresident Donald Trump attends the commencement address at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy in New London, Conn., Wednesday, May 17, 2017
President Donald Trump attends the commencement address at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy in New London, Conn., Wednesday, May 17, 2017 - Sputnik International
As US President Donald Trump prepares to make a final decision on whether to rescind Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) legislation, a 2012 policy that allows people who arrived in the US as undocumented immigrant minors to stay in the country and work legally, the lives and livelihood of roughly 800,000 young people hang in the balance.

Radio Sputnik’s Loud and Clear speaks with Angie Kim, a DACA recipient and community organizer with the New York-based MinKwon Center for Community Action, about the importance of DACA and the potential impact on the immigrant community if it is revoked.

The ramifications of rescinding DACA would be "very severe" according to Kim, as immigrants would be placed in a "dire situation" as they face job loss and displacement.

​Kim came to the US with her family at the age of nine, and her parents attempted to legalize their status but were unsuccessful, trapping her, as many other immigrants are, in an immigration backlog that goes back longer than a decade. She was granted DACA in 2012 at the age of 29. Without the two-year renewable deferral of action, Kim is liable to be deported.

Loud and Clear host Brian Becker pointed out that House Speaker Paul Ryan has recently called for DACA to remain in place, though he and other establishment Republicans fought the measure when it was first presented under former President Barack Obama.

"Time and time again we have seen studies [indicating that] most Republicans and even Trump supporters support the DACA program and they oppose the termination of it," Kim said, arguing that rescinding DACA "just doesn’t make any sense. It’s simply inhumane and cruel, and it will have a tremendous backlash on our economy as well."

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During an August 2016 campaign stop in Phoenix, Arizona, Trump, who rode a wave of anti-immigrant and xenophobic sentiment into the Oval Office, spoke on what he considered to be true immigration reform, saying, "When politicians talk about immigration reform, they usually mean amnesty, open borders, lower wages. Immigration reform should mean something else entirely: it should mean improvements to our laws and policies to make life better for American citizens."

Kim noted that Trump has actually spoken favorably of DACA recipients, also called Dreamers, but has not yet lived up to any promise of supporting them.

"So it is very vital that President Trump do the right thing and do the humane thing by keeping the program, and if the program is going to be rescinded then we need to pass a comprehensive Dream Act that would be a permanent solution for all the young adults," she reasoned.

The Dream Act is a piece of legislation that would create a phased process for undocumented immigrant minors to reach full legal permanent resident status. The bill, introduced in 2001 and reintroduced several times since, has yet to pass the US Congress.  

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