Discussion Points for Punto Legal- March 7, 2018

1. DACA.

We are still looking for a DREAM Act, and DACA is in limbo. When the Supreme Court's refused to intervene nine days ago, the DACA program was thrown back into Congress' lap. In January, the president proposed a path to citizenship for 1.8 million young immigrants as part of an immigration package that included $25 billion for a wall and sharp cuts to legal immigration. The Senate rejected it. In other words, Trump wanted-and still wants--too much in exchange for a DREAM Act.

DREAMers and their advocates simply want a bill that would finally enact the DREAM Act. Trump has repeatedly blamed Democrats for the impasse, while Democrats say he created it by ending DACA. Congress must pass a spending bill by March 23 to keep the government running, giving Democrats a last chance to pass a DREAM Act. Democrats forced a partial shutdown in January with that goal in mind but gave up after three days. Meanwhile, a third federal court in Maryland has ruled that it was ok to terminate DACA. But, for now, you need not worry. For the time being, there are two nation-wide injunctions keeping DACA in place.

2. DACA and the Marijuana Industry.

We know that medical and recreational marijuana is legal in Colorado and several other states, including California. We also know that many people are employed in marijuana grow facilities and in retail stores. But marijuana is illegal under federal law and is illegal under immigration law. If you have DACA, no status, or a temporary visa and hope to be a permanent resident one day, do not work in the marijuana industry. Illicit trafficking in drugs is a bar to entry or castigo. You do not have to be convicted to be subject to this bar. If the officer has reason to believe that you have trafficked in marijuana, you will be barred from entry.

Suppose you have a great case to fix your papers. You go to your interview in Denver or Ciudad Juarez. The officer asks you where you work. You say "I work at the Green Dragon in Aspen." Then the officer asks, "what do you do there?" You tell them, "I sell recreational marijuana;" or "I make marijuana candy;" or "I grow marijuana." Guess what? You have just lost your permanent resident card.

Again, if you have DACA, if you are undocumented but want to be a resident one day, or if you are here on a temporary visa, do not work in the marijuana industry.