DACA’s Effect On LGBTIQ+ “Dreamers”

For Pride Month 2022, The Law Office Of Mariana Toledo-Hermina recognizes the estimated 81,000 LGBTIQ+ “dreamers”, almost half of which have participated in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program according to the Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law.

DACA, which provides protection for immigrants to children who entered the United States before age 16, was passed by President Obama’s administration in 2012. The children helped by the program, often referred to as “Dreamers”, also received temporary work authorization and protection from deportation for renewable two-year periods.

Enrollment in DACA provided many LBGTIQ+ children with educational and work opportunities. In a number of states, colleges and universities allow DACA participants to enroll and attend, where undocumented individuals may have not previously been allowed. On the work side of opportunities, a 2019 study found that DACA participants reported an increase of over $8/hour in compensation, for a total of $19+/hr, and many also found opportunities with improved work conditions after DACA.

In October 2017, President Trump’s administration rescinded the 2012 DACA memorandum and began winding down the DACA program, resulting in the inability to apply for over 1.7 million Dreamers who would have been eligible to participate in DACA, according to the Migration Policy Institute. 

A December 2020 Supreme Court ruling ruled that the Trump administration overstepped its bounds in dismantling the program and opened applications back up with an extended renewal period to two years from one. However, a subsequent July 2021 ruling by a federal judge ruled that first-time DACA applicants were barred from the program.

For now, USCIS has confirmed that all individuals who had approved DACA requests prior to July 16, 2021 will continue to have DACA status and will continue to be eligible to renew DACA and DACA work permits.

The Law Office Of Mariana Toledo-Hermina is proud to support LGBTIQ+ Dreamers and DACA applicants in their efforts to forge their path to protection under the law and supports the DREAM Act to give these Dreamers permanent legal status. The bill has been presented to Congress at least 11 times over the past 2 decades, but none have become law yet, despite broad bipartisan support.

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