The Stream

What future do US immigrants have under Trump?

The Stream explores recent debates about immigration policy in the United States, including changes to the TPS and DACA residency programmes.

Tens of thousands of US residents could be soon affected by changes to immigration policy. From the potential end of a programme that protects young people brought to the country illegally, to President Donald Trump’s opposition to so-called “chain migration”, many risk having to leave.

In this episode, The Stream speaks to just some of them to learn about what they’re doing to fight the proposals and prepare for an uncertain future. Here are the three topics we will cover:

Temporary Protected Status for Salvadorans

About 200,000 Salvadorans could face deportation after the Trump administration announced a plan to revoke legal status they had under the Temporary Protected Status humanitarian programme (TPS).

TPS was designed as a temporary fix for immigrants already in the United States who don’t have legal status but cannot return to their home countries due to natural disaster, conflict or other extraordinary conditions.

Salvadorans were awarded TPS protection in 2001 after a pair of earthquakes killed more than 1,500 people. The US government, though, says El Salvador is now capable of reabsorbing those citizens. These TPS recipients now have until September 2019 to secure legal residency or leave.

After 20 years in the US, how are some of these Salvadorans responding to the the decision and the possibility that they may have to leave

The future of DACA “dreamers”

The lives of thousands of young people are under scrutiny as officials scramble to craft legislation that would allow them to continue living in the US.

DACA – or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals – is a Barack Obama-era programme that awarded a renewable, two-year deferment on deportation to people brought illegally to the US as children. In September 2017, President Trump announced that he would rescind the programme, giving lawmakers six months to find a legislative solution for the DACA beneficiaries.

So, how are DACA recipients responding? And what is the likely outcome?

President Trump vows to end “chain migration”

The US president has frequently voiced his opposition to family-based migration, which allows US citizens and green card holders to sponsor relatives for permanent residence. Although the process is intensive, subject to annual quotas, and sometimes costly, critics of the current system say petitions should be limited only to the “nuclear family” – parents and their children.

The Trump administration has now endorsed legislation that restricts family-based immigration by introducing a points-based system, which would prioritise English-speakers. Trump says the new system would benefit the US economy.

But pro-immigration groups say the proposed reforms are less about the economy or national security, and more about the government being able to pick and choose what sort of immigrants can come to the US. The Migration Policy Institute estimates that cuts to family-based migration would mostly affect US residents sponsoring relatives from Mexico, the Dominican Republic, the Philippines, China, India, and Vietnam.

So, what does the future of immigration look like for people hoping to build new lives – and communities – in the US?

On this episode of The Stream, we speak with:

Loide Jorge @loidemusica
Immigration lawyer

Milagro Rivas   
TPS recipient

Mariana Martinez Perroni
DACA recipient

Richard David @itsrichdavid
Community Activist

Read more:
When deportation is a death sentence – The New Yorker
The DACA deal hiding in plain sight – Politico
What “chain migration” really means – and why Donald Trump hates it so much – Vox

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