Trump gives DACA recipients terrible advice

The best advice is not to listen to Trump.

Trump on Wednesday. CREDIT: AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall
Trump on Wednesday. CREDIT: AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall

On Thursday morning, President Trump posted a tweet intended to reassure the roughly 800,000 DACA recipients whose lives he threw into chaos this week by killing the program.

Trump’s tweet reportedly came at the urging of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA). Sam Stein of the Daily Beast noted that Trump’s reference to a “6 month period” was meant to reassure DACA recipients that they won’t be deported during that window of time.

But Trump’s claim that DACA recipients have “nothing to worry about” is grossly irresponsible. Those whose permits are set to expire before March 5 of next year now have less than a month to apply for a renewal that will allow them to legally stay in the U.S. beyond that date. The deadline for applications is October 5, and the fee is $495. For students and many others, this is a significant sum of money.

“The fee to request consideration of deferred action for childhood arrivals, including employment authorization and biometric services, is $495, and cannot be waived,” according to information on the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services’ (USCIS) website.

Further, according to the Department of Homeland Security’s website, Trump’s decision to end the program also means that current DACA enrollees with pending requests to travel outside of the U.S. legally will no longer have them processed.

“USCIS will administratively close all pending Form I-131 applications for advance parole under standards associated with the DACA program, and will refund all associated fees,” the website says.

Trump’s advice that DACA recipients should rest easy is also diametrically opposed to the talking points the White House distributed on Tuesday about Trump’s decision to end the program. That memo urged DACA recipients to get busy making arrangements to leave the country.

“The Department of Homeland Security urges DACA recipients to use the time remaining on their work authorizations to prepare for and arrange their departure from the United States — including proactively seeking travel documentation — or to apply for other immigration benefits for which they may be eligible,” the memo says.

Trump has been sending mixed messages about the program that provides legal protections to immigrants who were brought to the country as children. On Tuesday night, Trump tweeted that if Congress cannot “legalize DACA” within six months, he’ll “revisit this issue!”

At an appearance on Tuesday, however, Trump said he had “no second thoughts” about ending the program.

Roughly 95 percent of the young people enrolled in DACA are either in school or working. The idea of deporting that population is broadly unpopular and would hurt the U.S. economy.