Bambadjan Bamba, an actor in the upcoming “Black Panther” movie, revealed his undocumented status on Tuesday in an interview with the L.A. Times.
Bamba participates in the DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) program. President Trump announced the end of DACA in a statement released in September. As a result, Bamba and others may face deportation if Congress doesn’t act to protect the program.
Bamba’s parents moved their family to the United States in 1993 to escape political unrest in their home country, Cote D’Ivoire. He was 10 years old. Today, Bamba is married and a father. He starred in “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Suicide Squad,” and “The Good Place.”
What is DACA?
DACA stands for “Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.” The program does not make illegal immigrants legal. Rather, it allows them to work and live in the United States without fear of deportation for a limited amount of time.
President Obama introduced the country to DACA on June 15, 2012. The program applied to childhood immigrants between the ages of 15 and 31. It required high school attendance, completion, or proof of a GED. Participants must have moved to the United States before their 16th birthday. They also must have lived continuously in the United States since June 15, 2007.
Immigrants with certain criminal records need not apply. DACA specifically bars immigrants from the program if they have a felony conviction, a significant misdemeanor, or three or more misdemeanors. DACA also bars immigrants that pose a threat to national security or public safety.
Once accepted into the program, immigrants qualify for a social security card and a driver’s license. They are also allowed to work, get a credit card, and put utilities in their own names.
A deferred action was given for two-year periods. Participants could renew benefits as they expired.
After President Trump’s announcement, DACA is no longer accepting applications for new or renewed benefits. However, Trump’s phase-out does not cause DACA benefits to expire early. Benefits start to expire in March.
What can I do?
The future of DACA rests squarely in the hands of Congress.
Members of Congress represent their constituents interests. But they can’t do that if they don’t know how you feel. Call your representative. Send a letter. Tweet about it. Instagram about it. Tell your friends to do the same! There is still time to save this program.