Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Rise of DACA Applications by DREAMers

  • Before the election, a large number of potential DACA DREAMer population were initially hesitant to come out of the closet to apply for the DACA benefits when it was announced on June 15, 2012 because of Romney's initial stance of self-deportation and refusal to accomodate the President's initiative to give a relief, albeit limited in scope, to these DREAMers. As the election day was inching away, he changed his stance and announced his position on DACA applicants that he would not deport those DREAMers who had been granted DACA approvals. This helped some of the DREAMers come out of the closet and applied for the DACA benefit right before the election day. This is reflected in the new DACA statistics which was released by the USCIS on 11/16/2012. However, the turnout was only about 20% of the estimate total potential pool of DREAMer population of 1.7 million and majority of the DREAMers were hesitant to come forward before the election because Romney did not make a commitment to extend the DACA benefits which had been granted to those who had come out of the closet. Since DACA benefit was good only for two years, there still remained a serious fear factor, should Romney be elected, that they could still be deported after two years of DACA approval.
  • However, now Obama has been reelected and all the fear factors have been removed and evaporated. According to a report, there is a rise of potential DREAMers coming out of the closet after the election. Another factor that would trigger further rise of DACA applications involves a thought that either DREAM Act or Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act (CIR) may be enacted in 2013 and those who have been granted a DACA benefits may be in a better position in the green card path under either of these potential legislations because they have already passed and been cleared of security or criminal or other adverse factors. Additionally, DREAM Act or CIR Act will, without doubt, accomodate this group of population in the proposals. Rising hope for enacting CIR or DREAM Act in 2013 from both aisles of the Congress is likely to accelerate the flow of outpouring of DACA applicants ahead.

  • The political process, however, should not alienate "legal" immigrants, particularly employment-based legal foreign talents. In order to arrive at national consensus for immigration reform in a broad spectrum, the leaders should not ignore the needs of the businesses and research communities. The option of DREAM Act may lead to alienation of the business and academic communities and legal immigrant communities. Accordingly, the legislators should focus on Comprehensive Immigration Reform rather than DREAM Act to reach a national concensus accomodating both the right and the left. One of the key components of the CIR has traditionally included employment-based immigration reform. The broken employment-based immigration system has currently reached a level of state of being choked, calling for its repair very urgently. For the foreging reasons, this site opposes some of the late Republican legislators' move to limit the reform to so-called DREAM Act with their alleged proposal to push asidet the CIR for the farther future in time. Such move can be misconstrued as an attempt to block immigration reform by splitting immigration reform issues and immigration reform communities. The Year 2013 should truly give an opportunity for the nation to fix the broken immigration system in broad and comprehensive perspectives.

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