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Close to 8,000 Indian-Americans to be hit as Trump decides to end DACA immigration programme

The programme - Deferred Action for Children Arrival (DACA) - was a key immigration reform of the former US President Barack Obama.

world Updated: Sep 04, 2017 23:24 IST
Yashwant Raj, Hindustan Times, Washington
Donald Trump,US President,Immigrants
US President Donald Trump.(AFP)

US president Donald Trump is reported to be planing to end a popular and controversial Obama-era regulation that protected from deportation undocumented immigrants who arrived in the country as children and that has benefitted an estimated 800,000 people of whom close to 8,000 are from India.

The announcement, which is likely on Tuesday, could include a delayed trigger period of six months for Congress to enact a law to replace the current regulation — called Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) — which was instituted through an executive order by President Barack Obama in 2012.

While most of those granted DACA are from Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Peru — the top five countries of origin — 7,881 for them came India, according to the latest data published by the regulating agency, the US Customs and Immigration Services (USCIS).

The Migration Policy Institute, which tracks and studies immigration in the US, said in a report in 2016 there were an 1.9 million people eligible for DACA and 22,000 of them were from India, which has also emerged as a top country of origin for legal immigrants.

News reports, citing unidentified administration officials, suggested the White House has informed Congress of the move, but indicated the president could still change his mind. Trump had promised to end the programme during his campaign, but has also said he would “deal with DACA with heart”.

It’s an emotive issue as it involves immigrants who were brought illegally by parents — they did not come on their own — as children and who grew up in the United States knowing no other country or culture; they have probably never been to their countries of origin.

But it’s also a political issue tied to the larger question of illegal immigrants. A large number of Republicans — including Trump’s base and officials such as attorney general Jeff Sessions and White House policy adviser Stephen Miller — are opposed to legalisation their status, calling it amnesty.

Led by Texas, 11 Republican-ruled states had jointly threatened to challenge the regulation in court, and had in June posted a deadline of September 5 for the federal justice department to phase it out.

Some Republicans, however, including House speaker Paul Ryan, favour retaining some elements of DACA, and Trump’s own daughter Ivanka Trump and son-in-law Jared Kushner — both advisers to the president — support the Obama-era regulation, and have pushed the president to stay with it.

As have leading Silicon Valley CEOs. Apple’s TIM Cook wrtoe on Twitter Sunday, “250 of my Apple coworkers are #Dreamers (another name for DACA, drawing from an earlier law). I stand with them. They deserve our respect as equals and a solution rooted in American values.”

First Published: Sep 04, 2017 18:35 IST