For the thousands of Jamaicans who live in the United States and who have benefitted from the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program implemented by former President Barack Obama, major uncertainty looms as Obama’s Republican successor moves to rescind the initiative by March 2018. According to US Attorney General Jefferson Beauregard Sessions, the US Congress will have six months to find an alternative to the program.
DACA was introduced in 2012 and provides temporary legal immigration status to individuals who arrived in the US illegally as children. According to the US Citizenship and Immigration Service, 7,810 Jamaicans were approved for DACA between 2012 and March 31, 2017. Permits for 6,773 Jamaicans were approved during this period. Dahlia Walker Huntington, a Jamaican-American immigration attorney, called the policy change “unfortunate”. She went on to say that the decision of the current administration to rescind DACA reinforces the fears felt by illegal immigrants. She hopes that the Congress will devise legislation to address the problem and allow recipients of DACA to remain in the US.