Trump has given a six-month deadline for Congress to pass legislation [Lucy Nicholson/Reuters]
Demonstrations have taken place in major cities across the US in support of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) programme that protects young undocumented immigrants from deportations.
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Hundreds of people took to the National Mall in Washington, DC, on Monday, holding placards with slogans such as “Undocumented and Unafraid” and “Let My People Stay”.
President Donald Trump signed an order to end DACA in September, giving a six-month deadline for Congress to pass legislation for continued protections.
Trump expressed a desire to reach a deal to provide these protections in exchange for funding for a wall on the US-Mexico border, a major aspect of his platform during his campaign for the US presidency.
There have been three laws introduced to continue protections, though none have passed Congress.
Immigrant youth, community members and allies are mobilizing today to tell Members of Congress that immigrant youth are #HereToStay, and we are #HereToFight for our community. ☎️ CALL & tell us why you support young immigrants today: 888-872-5316 pic.twitter.com/AaIzkwyWlG
— United We Dream (☎️ 888-872-5316 #DreamActNow) (@UNITEDWEDREAM) March 5, 2018
“Until now, Trump and Republican leaders have pulled Republican votes away from three bipartisan proposals to fix the crisis and have stood in the way of the Dream Act,” a statement from United We Dream, an organisation that campaigns for undocumented youth, said.
The Dream Act was a bill that would have provided a path to citizenship for undocumented children brought to the US by their parents. It has never passed, though legislators have attempted to do so several times.
Undocumented immigrants and their advocates railed against the proposal, with DACA recipients promising to hold accountable Republicans and Democrats that allowed protections to expire in November’s midterm elections.
Still, courts have blocked Trump’s order to end DACA protections. The US Supreme Court decided last week not to hear arguments in a California case on the subject, leaving the programme in place for those who have already applied.
Those eligible for DACA protections who had not previously applied are unable to do so.
Trump also ended protections for roughly 200,000 people from El Salvador who had been in the US under Temporary Protected Status (TPS).
Salvadorians have enjoyed TPS status since 2001, when a series of earthquakes created a humanitarian crisis in the Central American country.
Only 1.8 million undocumented immigrants entered the US before their 16th birthday, making them eligible for DACA protections.
Of those 1.8 million, roughly 800,000 have received DACA protections in the five years the programme has existed, according to numbers from the Department of Homeland Security, the University of California-San Diego and several immigrations advocacy groups compiled by the USA Today network.
More than 90 percent of DACA recipients are employed or in school. Less than one percent had their protection rescinded due to illegal activity. These statistics are often cited by immigrant advocates.
“With these actions across the country, immigrant youth and their allies are calling on the House of Representatives to pass a narrow and permanent solution to protect immigrant youth from deportation,” the Together We Dream statement said.