Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinical Program Staff Attorney Jason Corrall on HKS panel
When the Trump administration announced on Sept. 5 that it intended to upend the Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals program (DACA), which has banned deportation of many young immigrants, the move seemed to set a general course for what would come next.
But by the time the Harvard Kennedy School’s Institute of Politics (IOP) held a John F. Kennedy Jr. Forum on the issue Friday, the decision had become murkier again, underlining both the significance and the complexity of the issues surrounding immigration, documentation, and legal rights for those young people.
Opening the discussion on “DACA: What’s Next,” moderator Dan Balz, chief correspondent for the Washington Post and a fall resident fellow at the IOP, summarized recent developments, asking the panel members — Carlos Rojas, an immigrant rights advocate and special projects consultant for Youth on Board; Roberto G. Gonzalez, professor of education, Harvard Graduate School of Education; and Jason Corral, staff attorney, Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinical program — for their take on the social media back and forth.
In announcing an end to the current program, President Trump had said he wanted Congress to determine a replacement policy within six months. But last week he tweeted: “Does anybody really want to throw out good, educated and accomplished young people who have jobs, some serving in the military?”
Yet Rojas, who was brought to this country from Colombia at age 4, dismissed the idea that such tweets represented any real reversal. “His tweets are demonstrative of his role — an incredibly destructive, confusing, muddled role,” said Rojas, whose mother fled Colombia with her son because of violence that had claimed her brother. “Our ability to raise families and hold jobs is now in jeopardy.”