Citing that money allotted for DACA recipients is meant for Americans, the White House excludes thousands from receiving Coronavirus financial aid.
President Donald Trump, who on Tuesday announced he is suspending immigration into the country for 60 days to, ostensibly, halt the spread of the Invisible Enemy, as he calls the novel coronavirus, has dealt a second blow to immigrants and Dreamers in the United States.
On Tuesday the Republican incumbent announced he is blocking tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients from getting billions of dollars in aid designated to aid college students affected by COVID-19.
Under the CARES Act, Universities would get just over 6 billion dollars in aid. Half of this money would be used to help students affected by COVID-19 while the other half could be used to help the universities with the cost of switching to online learning due to the COVID-19 social distancing directives now in effect.
Aid Intended Just for Americans
According to the Education Department, students who are ineligible for federal student aid can’t get this emergency money. That includes undocumented students, international students and DACA recipients. The presidential executive order excludes from receiving the much needed aid students who are already struggling financially to finish college, and those whose legal status is in jeopardy pending a U.S. Supreme Court ruling. The reason given by the Education Department for refusing the aid is that this resource is solely intended for U.S. citizens.
Recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals are estimated to be nearly 700,000 across the country. This means that thousands of students in the state of Florida, which has an estimated 106,481 Dreamers, as the DACA-protected immigrants have come to be known, could be severely affected.
DACA was created under President Barack Obama’s administration to offer immunity for two-year periods to immigrants brought to the country as children without documentation. But President Trump had it in his crosshairs from the beginning of his term. As early as Nov 2019 he wrote in a tweet, saying in part: “Many of the people in DACA, no longer very young, are far from “angels.” Some are very tough, hardened criminals.”
Trump, who campaigned on a promise to end illegal immigration and build a wall on the Mexican border to keep the “murderers and rapists” out, said at the time that he would “immediately terminate DACA” if elected. After taking office, he promised that the U.S. would show “heart” in dealing with the Dreamers. But as the November general election comes closer, he appears to be pandering to his base by cracking down on immigrants.
Federal courts in California and Texas have challenged the decision, taking it all the way to the Supreme Court. Later this year it is expected to issue a decision on the future of the DACA program.