More than 2, 800 Pakistanis and over 5, 500 Indians will be affected by the repealing of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals [DACA] by the Trump administration, according to a Forbes report.
Designed to protect undocumented aliens, brought to the United States as children, from deportation, DACA was introduced by former US President Barack Obama in 2012. It benefited nearly 800,000 people who were allowed to stay and obtain work permits.
While the US President Trump set a deadline for the US Congress to set up legislative relief for ‘Dreamers’, on Wednesday he said he will revisit the issue in case Congress failed to act.
Majority of the people under DACA, tagged as ‘Dreamers’, are from Mexico and Latin America, the Forbes expects Asian-Americans to be affected as well. “Currently around 30,000 Asian-Americans, comprising over 5,500 Indians and over 2,800 Pakistanis have received DACA,” the report said, adding that India was in the top ten countries for undocumented immigrants eligible for DACA.
Speaking to the magazine on conditions of anonymity, some South Asian-Americans said were never granted asylum, some were unable to secure employment visas while others remained in the shadows – working menial jobs without security or benefits. They had seen their houses raided by US Immigration and Customs officers, some of them have parents held at detention centres or wearing tracking devices.
Most of the South Asians who come under the criteria of DACA, travelled to the US on tourist visas to escape “religious persecution” or to find better working opportunities.
Ruhi*, an Indian biology major at a university in Texas, told Forbes that she was brought to the US by her parents after she was diagnosed with a rare brain disease in early childhood. The treatment to her illness was not available in India. Once in the US, it was found that the treatment could be done “over years, not days” which made her family stay.
But her father, despite acquiring a job and sponsorship, his employment visa was ‘arbitrarily’ denied due to massive delays after 9/11 took place. Hence, the family remains undocumented.