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4 Things You Need To Know About DACA In Washington State

Parker Miles Blohm
A woman holds up a sign in support of the DACA program and a Sept. 5 rally following the Trump administration's announcement that it plans to phase out the program.

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced Tuesday that the Trump administration plans to phase out the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, known as DACA.

The Obama-era policy protects some young undocumented immigrants from deportation.

The announcement does leave an opening for Congress to act. But it also means thousands of immigrants in Washington state could lose their legal status. 

Here are four facts about what the announcement means locally:

How many DACA recipients are there in Washington?

About 17,000. That puts Washington state in the top 10 nationwide for the DACA population.

Who are they?

These are young people whose parents brought them here illegally as young children. Most of them are from Mexico and Central America, but they come from all over the world.

What happens to them if DACA ends?

They would lose their work permits. In Washington, DACA recipients are also eligible for state financial aid under the state's Dream Act. Without the federally recognized status, they would lose that aid. As early as next year, they may also face deportation.

What do local officials have to say about all this?

State Attorney General Bob Ferguson says he plans on filing a lawsuit to try to stop the end of the DACA program. It's unclear what form that would take. Gov. Jay Inslee says he's on board with that effort. All four Republican members of Congress from Washington say they want to find a legislative solution to protect these young people. Several other local officials have spoken out generally against the move to end the program.

Kirsten Kendrick hosts Morning Edition on KNKX and the sports interview series "Going Deep," talking with folks tied to sports in our region about what drives them — as professionals and people.
Will James is a former KNKX reporter and was part of the special projects team, reporting and producing podcasts such as Outsiders and The Walk Home.