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Dreamer Program Looks Over Shoulder at GOP Candidates' Threat

Immigrant advocates are racing to sign people up for the Dreamer program ahead of the 2016 election. Credit:avidcreative/iStockAbout 105,000 Floridians are eligible for the controversial Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program (DACA). Workshops are being held in Miami on Saturday. Photo credit: avidcreative/iStock
Immigrant advocates are racing to sign people up for the Dreamer program ahead of the 2016 election. Credit:avidcreative/iStock
About 105,000 Floridians are eligible for the controversial Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program (DACA). Workshops are being held in Miami on Saturday. Photo credit: avidcreative/iStock
August 21, 2015

MIAMI - Immigration advocates are pushing to get as many eligible people as possible enrolled in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program ahead of the presidential election next year. That's because candidates such as Republican frontrunner Donald Trump have promised to end the program.

DACA gives temporary work permits to undocumented people who were brought to the United States as children before June 2007. Jose Diaz, executive director of FL Dream, said his group is sponsoring an immigration clinic Saturday at Florida International University in Miami.

"Right now, the debate around immigration is very shaky, and it's uncertain what's going to happen," Diaz said. "But it's important to be grandfathered in, in case any future administration decides to halt it or take it away."

Several presidential candidates want the country to go even further and stop granting automatic citizenship to people born on American soil to undocumented parents.

According to the Migration Policy Institute, 105,000 Floridians now are eligible for DACA or will be soon. Diaz said the number has risen to almost 2 million nationally.

"They estimated at the beginning that 1.2 million would be eligible," he said. "Of that, about 672,000 nationally have already applied."

Three years ago last week, President Obama signed an executive order creating DACA and DAPA, a similar program for undocumented parents of American citizens. However, DAPA and a proposed expansion of DACA have been blocked by a federal judge in Texas.

A second immigration clinic is planned for Sept. 22 in Miami. More information on the clinics is online at fldream.org.

Suzanne Potter, Public News Service - FL