What Will Happen To DACA? Trump Is Being Urged to Let 800,000 Undocumented Immigrants Stay

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In an open letter to President Donald Trump, Cities for Action, a large coalition of local elected officials and mayors, urged Trump not to deport DACA recipients, the young people who were brought to America as undocumented children and now can seek work authorization and other benefits through an Obama-era executive action.

“You have singular power and influence to shape this moment in American history, and ‘show great heart’ — as well as pragmatism and economic sense — in your decision about how to protect our young, undocumented immigrants who have relied on the U.S. government’s word for security and stability,” the letter read.

Obama's executive action, known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), is currently in jeopardy. Enacted five years ago on Tuesday, the program is up for renewal by a president with a hardline stance on immigration. Trump did say in June that in the short term, he had no plans to deport the 800,000 young undocumented immigrants who have taken part in the DACA program. Long-term plans for those who benefit from the program, however, have not been solidified by the administration.

“There has been no final determination made about the DACA program, which the president has stressed needs to be handled with compassion and with heart,” Jonathan Hoffman, the assistant secretary for public affairs at the department, told The New York Times.

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Mayors who signed the letter issued by Cities for Action — which together represents more than 55 million people in America — stressed the economic importance of keeping DACA recipients in the country.  "DACA recipients are also taxpayers and integral to our economies. I stand with over 100 mayors and county officials across the country in calling on the President to continue and defend the DACA program — it’s the right thing to do, and it’s the smart thing to do,” New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said in a statement.

According to a study by the left-leaning Center for American Progress, deporting the nearly 800,000 DACA recipients who currently work and live in the U.S. would result in, over the next decade, a $460.3 billion loss from the national GDP or gross domestic product. "Our nation’s Dreamers enrich our communities and contribute so much to our social and economic fabric. Preserving the DACA program is essential to allowing the thousands of children of immigrants across Tennessee and around the country to work, study, and reach their full potential in ours, a nation of immigrants," said Megan Barry, Mayor of Nashville.

The letter from Cities for Action also said that the president should not be swayed by conservative efforts to deport the undocumented immigrants who benefit from DACA. Referring to 10 states' threat to sue the administration if Trump does not end the DACA program, the mayors said: "Now a small number of states are pressuring your Administration to take away DACA from nearly 800,000 young people who have come forward, passed background checks, and have made the most of their opportunity to live and work in America lawfully. This is in no one’s best interest."