A syllabus for understanding the challenges facing undocumented youth.
The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which granted provisional work permits and protection from deportation to undocumented youth, has been at the center of a maelstrom of political debate. Signed into law by President Barack Obama in 2012 and rescinded by President Donald Trump in 2017, the DACA program and those who are protected under it have been sent into a tailspin of uncertainty as Congress remains gridlocked on long-term immigration reform. This stalemate triggered a government shutdown in January, and though President Trump gave Congress a March 5th deadline to hammer out a new policy, no progress on a legislative solution has yet to be made.
In the meantime, challenges from federal courts in New York and California have issued injunctions against terminating the program, allowing those young immigrants who already have DACA permits to continue applying for renewals. This stay, however, is only temporary. If no long-term solution is reached, hundreds of thousands of young immigrants whose parents brought them to the United States as children could find themselves unable to legally work and eligible for deportation.
For a more detailed look at the recent political and cultural history that brought us to this moment, we’ve gathered below a short syllabus of books that explore the rhetoric, policies, and activism around the present US immigration debate.