Community

Mayor Greg Fischer has pledged his support for Dreamers, or DACA recipients, by joining the coalition “We Are With Dreamers.”

DACA, or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, was implemented in 2012 by President Obama. The program allows people who arrived in the U.S. illegally as children to live and work here without fear of deportation. But DACA is being threatened by 10 state attorneys general who’ve said they will sue the federal government if the program isn’t ended by September 5.

The end of DACA could affect thousands in the Commonwealth. According to the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, there are an estimated 6,000 Kentuckians enrolled or eligible for DACA, and they contribute more than $9 million to state and local taxes.

“There’s a lot of discussion on a variety of issues around immigration but I think that one of the specific areas that has been pretty much sacred ground are these Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals-eligible, and young people,” says Bryan Warren, director of the Louisville Metro Office of Globalization.

And Warren says the DACA program generally has bipartisan support.

President Trump’s general rhetoric around immigration as well as the uncertainty of DACA has raised fears in vulnerable immigrant communities. And officials say that prevents members of the community from accessing available help they may need — including applying for services like food stamps or other benefits.

But there are also even more dire effects, says Edgardo Mansilla, executive director of the American Community Center, which provides various services to Louisville’s newcomers.

“We are seeing an increase in domestic violence cases, we see an increase in addictions,” he says. “So it’s a whole social component.”

Mansilla also says he’s seen an increase in detentions of undocumented immigrants over the past several months.

The president’s decision on the future of the DACA program could come in the next few days.