Last Tuesday, US Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced that the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA, would end in six months. This announcement sparked marches and rallies across the nation, including here in Madison. Hundreds rallied at Library Mall and marched to the Capitol Building on Saturday. They carried with them a message of support for immigrants who came to this country as children with undocumented parents. President Obama established DACA through an executive order in 2012 with the goal of deferring the deportation of these youth and young adults.
This group of young people are known as “dreamers” after the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act. The act was originally introduced in 2001 and, since Tuesday, has been reintroduced with many sponsors. In the meantime, DACA is set to end in March, 2018. Anyone currently on a DACA permit that expires before then must re-apply by October 5th to be covered for the remaining period. The fee for re-applying has risen to $495.
According to the Migration Policy Institute, there are just over 8,000 under DACA protection in Wisconsin, and 800,000 nationwide. Many Dreamers will need professional legal advice, especially if they must re-apply immediately. In Madison, the Community Immigration Law Center offers free immigration law consultation. Those interested in times and dates can call (608) 257 4845.
Craig McComb attended the protest on Saturday and sends this report.