The possibility that President-elect Donald Trump might discontinue the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program leaves approximately 140,000 Texas residents in limbo, according to an attorney with the Texas Civil Rights Project.
Among them: 4,000 to 5,000 Hidalgo County residents, said Efrén C. Olivares, the organization’s regional legal director for South Texas.
“Since it was a program that was initiated by executive action from President Obama, it could also be cancelled via executive action,” Olivares said. “So the president will have the power to cancel the program, at least under existing law.”
Designed to help people who were brought to the United States as children — and aren’t legally present in the country — the program offers temporary relief from deportation.
People who qualify may obtain driver’s licenses and other identity documents; seek higher education and join the military.
Hundreds of students at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley and South Texas College successfully applied through the program for permission to temporarily stay in the United States. Some now fear the Trump administration will use the personal information they provided to deport them.
About 500 to 600 students at the college aren’t legally present in the United States, including some who may have qualified for DACA, said Matthew Hebbard, vice president for student affairs and enrollment management.
“We can recommend options that they work with legal counsel and to try to adjust their status (at) the quickest possible moment that they can,” Hebbard said.