Illinois is home to one of the largest immigrant populations in the country, and some immigrant advocacy groups are warning that a program intended to help protect young undocumented immigrants may now do more harm than good. According to Business Insider, advocates at the National Immigration Law Center and the Immigrant Legal Resource Center are voicing concerns that applying for the program may expose an immigrant’s undocumented status to the Trump administration, among other fears.
Known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, the program was enacted by President Barack Obama and designed to offer two-year protections to those who arrived in the United States as children. With President-Elect Donald Trump already taking a hard line on immigration issues, many fear that providing personal information in an application that may then be reviewed by Immigration and Customs Enforcement may come back to bite them. Additionally, the fee associated with applying for the program is $465, an amount that some immigrant groups believe would be wasted given Trump’s promises to eliminate the program in its entirety once he takes office.
Exactly what the change in the White House means for the more than 740,000 already approved for DACA protection is not yet clear. However, concerns surrounding deportations are strong enough that several of the state’s largest public universities are echoing immigration groups’ sentiments and urging prospective students not to apply.
Per Newsmax, Illinois’ public schools currently have more than 43,000 undocumented students, and nearly 60 percent of the state’s undocumented immigrants are classified as “young workers.” It is not immediately clear how many of those already approved for DACA protection reside in Illinois.