The first arrest of a so-called “dreamer”, like so many of Donald Trump’s first acts as president, sparked public outcry in the US.
In Tacoma, Washington DC, a young Mexican who entered the country illegally as a child with his parents and recently covered by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program was taken into custody last week.
Protest organizer Rolando Avila said: “We’re here in solidarity and we demand that he be released because he is someone that is very valuable in his community, and we are seeing this across the country where we’re seeing attacks on immigrants. And we don’t want to stand idle.”
Known as the “dreamers”, they are 750,000 non-American youths to have obtained temporary protection against deportation under Barack Obama’s DACA, implemented in 2012.
To apply for DACA, you mist have lived in the US since 2007, be enrolled in or have graduated from school, and not have a criminal record.
With all boxes ticked, the program gives immigrant youths a renewable two-year period of protection against deportation, and the right to work legally, obtain a drivers license and to apply for scholarships.
The former US president intended the program to remove some of the uncertainty surrounding young illegal immigrants.
“Lets be clear, this is not ammesty, this is a temporary stop-get mesure that lets us focus our resources wisely while giving a degree of relief and hope to talented driven, patriotic young people,” he said in 2012.
But now the uncertainty has returned. President Trump has remained typically vague about his intentions regarding DACA, but some of his advisors, perhaps most notably the ultra-nationalist Steve Bannon, are in favour of repealing the program.
Add to this the recent appointment of the controversial, right-wing, anti-immigrant Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who said that the a revocation of Daca was on the cards, and the future of these young people has been cast into further doubt.
Whatever the case, such a contentious issue is bound to ruffle more than a few feathers, both in government and on the streets.