Tennessee JFON prepares to welcome back the DREAMers
On Dec. 4, a federal judge in New York ordered the Department of Homeland Security to fully restore the DACA program. For the thousands of DACA-eligible youth who have been waiting since September 2017 to apply, this was both welcome news and a tremendous relief. The elimination of DACA has long been in the Trump administration’s sights.
In addition, the judge ordered DHS to accept DACA-based advance parole applications (permission to return to the United States after travel abroad) and to return to issuing two-year DACA-based work permits (instead of the one-year permits that DHS has been issuing since August).
No one is more excited about this news than the staff and volunteers at Tennessee JFON.
Their Nashville-based office has helped more #DACAmented youth than any other JFON site in the network.
“Our office has been inundated with calls from people seeking information and guidance,” says TN JFON legal director Bethany Jackson. “We are working with young people and their families to gather the information and documents that they will need to establish DACA eligibility.”
Currently, Bethany and her team are waiting to see whether DHS appeals the order AND manages to get a stay. “If that doesn’t happen,” she adds, mentally crossing her fingers, “we may not wait until January 20th. We’ll start seeing initial DACA appointments in the first part of January.”
“While we are thrilled that there may be an opportunity for these young people to apply, we cannot lose sight of the need for a permanent solution,” adds Bethany, on a more serious note.
“For years, politicians have treated the DACA program and its beneficiaries as bargaining chips. The chronic uncertainty surrounding DACA has left these young people in limbo. We must continue to press Congress and the incoming Biden administration to prioritize providing a path to permanent residence for all young people who have DACA or are DACA eligible.”
We—joined by millions of others—agree! It’s time for us to keep our promises, so that these young people can start living their dreams.