‘Dreamers’ left confused about fine points of immigration program’s end

By Mica Rosenberg

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Days after President Donald Trump’s decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, Mayara Pena still has a lot of unanswered questions. One of them is about her cars.

In March, she leased a 2009 Honda for her personal use and a brand new 2017 Dodge van for the small construction business she owns. On Tuesday, Pena, who came to the United States from Brazil as a teenager, learned that her authorization to work and protection from deportation under DACA will lapse in 2019, before the car leases are up.

At that point, the social security number Pena used on the leases will no longer be valid. Moreover, Massachusetts, where the 29-year-old lives, will soon require proof of legal residency to obtain a driver’s license, and Pena worries what that will mean for her existing license – and for her car insurance.

In ending the program, Trump said he wants the Republican-controlled Congress to enact a permanent, nationwide solution to stabilize the lives of so-called Dreamers such as Pena, people brought to the United States illegally as children. But in the past, Republicans and Democrats in the deeply divided legislature have been unable to agree on the issue.

The administration has promised an “orderly” end to DACA, but program participants are finding it hard to get answers to their many questions about what exactly that means.

Although the program is federal, the fate of its nearly 800,000 participants will vary from state to state, with state policies determining whether or not they will be able to continue studying, receive financial aid, or even drive legally.

Many states do not yet know themselves what the program’s end will mean. More than a dozen state attorneys general and the University of California system are suing Trump in an effort to reinstate the program.

“I think it’s crazy because the government gave us chance to come out, they invited us to do that and now they are throwing us under the bus. It’s bad for the economy,” Pena said. “They are just putting us in the shadows again and we are not going to be able to grow.”

200 QUESTIONS

On Tuesday night, hours after Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the end of DACA, immigration attorney David Leopold held a 45-minute Facebook Live session in which he was overwhelmed by more than 200 questions and comments from people nervous about their futures.

    “What about those in college who don’t pay or pay very little with DACA?” one questioner…

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