President Donald Trump has a lot of plans for immigration policy, from building a wall along the Mexican border to his executive orders last week closing access to refugees from a number of Muslim-majority countries. One action that may be coming in the following weeks is the suspension of former President Barack Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood arrivals, a program that granted temporary stays of deportation and access to work permits for people who were brought into the country illegally as minors.
While Trump hasn’t announced yet exactly what his plans are for these immigrants — often referred to as “DREAMers,” a reference to a similar bill that failed to pass Congress — those who benefited from the program are already planning what to do if Trump takes action.
Fighting back against Trump
DREAMers are using some of the same tactics the progressive movement is employing more broadly: protest and resistance.
"We are a force to be reckoned with," DREAMer Karina Solano Suarez told CNN. "I think he should be preparing himself for this sort of fight, for us trying to stay together with our parents and our community members."
CNN noted that a variety of tactics including legal challenges, community activism to protests, could be used to fight back against a rollback of DACA.
Some immigrants who were in the DACA program are preparing for the possibility that they will no longer be able to work. Some told USA Today that they are putting off making big purchases like houses or cars and instead keeping that money in reserve in case their work permits are taken away.
"I knew that it would have been a risk if Trump won," one DREAMer told USA Today. "He promised that he would get rid of DACA, and if he did that, I would have a tough time. It would mean that I would lose my job and I wouldn’t be financially stable anymore."
Hoping for the best — including from Republicans
In many ways, there isn’t much for DREAMers to do besides hope that their status stays protected. However, they may find some help from a seemingly unlikely source: congressional Republicans. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said he is working on a bill to protect DREAMers, and even Trump has intimated that he may be open to allowing those working to stay.
Graham’s bill would offer some protection to those who voluntarily came to immigration services and said they were undocumented in exchange for DACA protections.