Jose Antonio Vargas on being undocumented under Trump: “No one is safe”
“We are going to deal with DACA with heart.” That was President Donald Trump’s promise last February during his campaign, addressing Dreamers.
Today, Dreamers appear to be safe from being kicked out of Obama’s DACA program, or the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.
According to a fact sheet recently released by the Department of Homeland Security…
“Those who have been approved by DACA should be assured, at this time, their DACA status will continue,” said Rose Cuison-Villazor from Filipino-American Lawyers Assoc. “Those who need to renew their DACA should go do so — if you have DACA status then you ought to be protected in this country against deportation.”
That’s not the case for DAPA or Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and lawful permanent residents – a never-implemented Obama executive order that would have given legal status to undocumented parents with US born children.
DAPA is dead under the Trump administration.
“A few hours later we just found out that he is walking it back, so again you have an administration that I don’t think they even know what they wanna do,” said immigrant rights advocate Jose Antonio Vargas. “I don’t think they even know what they’re doing, right? This is what happens when were governing by tweets…”
Immigrant rights activist and film maker Vargas says being undocumented under Trump is more challenging than ever.
The 41,000 people deported in Trump’s first 100 days is a clear indication of what’s ahead for the undocumented population.
“That’s like a 37 percent increase from the same time when Obama was president…. so it’s happening,” Vargas said. “The difference though in the Trump era is how incredibly chaotic it is, and the fact that they’re going after everyone, like no one is safe, including me…”
While it’s not clear why ICE or DHS has not come after Vargas, he says he has taken precaution by not staying in one place.
Vargas has been moving around and staying with different friends and family members, but he says is ready when that time comes.
“I’m privileged and fortunate that I actually have lawyers who are advising me, and we put together a plan in case the worst happens.”
With immigration reform now in political limbo, undocumented immigrants are running out of luck.
Lawyering up is the best advice the Filipino American Lawyers Association says it can share to all undocumented, regardless of length of stay or circumstances.
“It can be tricky or confusing, that’s why I suggest go see a lawyer,” said Cuison-Villazor . “FALA is here for the community and if they have questions they should feel comfortable to talk to us because we are here for them.”
Kababayans in the east coast can contact FALA by emailing email@example.com.