Trump's election brings immigration fears


With or without a wall, barriers to illegal immigration are almost certain to grow when Donald Trump is sworn in as president.

Scholars and experts say funding may complicate completion of Trump's centerpiece immigration proposal — a massive wall spanning the Mexico border. But they say it's likely that deportation efforts will increase and enforcement priorities could stretch beyond undocumented immigrants with criminal records.

The program that might be easiest to eliminate provides temporary protection and a two-year work permit to hundreds of thousands of immigrants who came to the country illegally as children. Designed to allow people to come out of hiding for college and jobs, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals was triggered by a 2012 executive order by President Barack Obama.

Trump, who pledged to eliminate the program, would have the power as president to do it.

"It's easy to do," said Akiko Yasuike, sociology professor at California Lutheran University in Thousand Oaks. "He doesn't have to go through Congress. All he has to do is just say, 'I'm going to repeal DACA.'"

In California, more than 200,000 so-called Dreamers have been granted protection through the executive order and more than 150,000 people have renewed their status.

One of those Dreamers, a senior at Channel Islands High School, stood in Oxnard's Plaza Park on Thursday as part of a protest against Trump. She carried a hand-scrawled sign on three sheets of notebook paper that read "NOT MY PRESIDENT."

She thought the program could provide a path to college, medical school and maybe a career as an emergency room doctor. She thinks the election means her future is in jeopardy.

"I knew everything was going to change in my world," she said, asking that her name not be used for fear she could be deported.

Instead of rescinding DACA flat-out, Trump could decide not to renew the program's work permits when they expire. He could opt not to take any immigration actions against people who lose their protection, even using that action as political leverage with Democrats, said Steven Camarota of the Center for Immigration Studies, a conservative think tank.

"It's the most sympathetic group of illegal immigrants," Camarota said.

Others worry that people currently protected through the program could wear a bull's-eye.

"If the program is revoked, they (the government) have all the current information for these people," said Catherine Tactaquin, executive director of the National Network for Immigrants and Refugee Rights. "They will be on a targeted list for deportation."

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