Is Trump’s plan to end DACA his next step in backtracking on progressive Obama-Era policies?
Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) is an Obama-Era immigration policy founded in June 2012 that allows select illegal immigrants who entered the country as minors to receive a renewable two-year deferral from deportation along with eligibility for a work permit.
Those who benefit from DACA, commonly referred to as DREAMers, are considered “low priority” immigrants who exude good behavior, taking ICE attention off of them. Currently, about 800,000 DREAMers rely on DACA to keep them from deportation.
Recently, Trump vowed to dismantle DACA. This wasn’t his first attack on DREAMers, since February two DACA recipients have been detained by the Trump administration.
On June 16, 2017, the US Department of Homeland Security decided it would revoke Obama’s executive order that expanded DACA- meaning the program would continue to exist but under review.
In June, eleven state attorneys general wrote to Jeff Sessions, threatening to press legal opposition to DACA unless the Trump administration phased out the program by September 5th- the reported announcement date of Trump’s decision.
What’s Happening Now:
Barack Obama is expected to speak out against Trump’s proposed plan to end DACA, a product of his progressive Presidency. During his final news conference as president, Obama made it clear that an attack on his DREAMers program would result in a public decrier.
“The notion that we would just arbitrarily or because of politics punish those kids when they didn't do something themselves … would merit my speaking out,” Barack Obama stated.
Trump plans to end DACA with a six-month delay, allowing Congress a window to find a potential replacement for the program after multiple lawmakers, including House Speaker Paul Ryan, advocated for salvaging the program in some form.
This six-month delay poses many questions within itself, many are wondering if DACA beneficiaries will be able to renew their deportation referrals during that time.
Various key details of this policy deconstruction have yet to be addressed, officials stressing that Trump could even potentially change his mind.
Administration aides have suggested that Congress may not be able to agree on an amended DACA, making it unknown what could happen to the program if a legislative fix isn’t agreed upon within the six-month delay.
Expected to announce the fate of DACA on Tuesday, Trump is treading on thin ice with a large portion of America, especially the left. Still in an emotionally charged haze from the events in Charlottesville and the pardon of Joe Arpaio, many are calling Trump’s attack on DACA an attack on people of color- another action to further his conservative agenda.
“It also sends a message that a white supremacy agenda is winning, as it comes on the heels of Charlottesville and the pardoning of (Arizona Sheriff Joe) Arpaio.” says Sally Kinoshita of the Immigrant Legal Resource Center.
Not only is Trump’s proposal to end DACA insensitive to the current social climate, but to the political climate as well. Nearly 300,000 DREAMers live in Texas, where Hurricane Harvey has completely devastated communities. If the decision is made to end DACA, Texas legislators will hardly have the focus needed to repair the program while also reconstructing cities.
A public condemnation of Trump’s plans to end DACA by Obama could be a rallying cry for the left and those who fight for immigrant rights. It’s been made clear that since the president of the United States is incapable of denouncing (racial) injustice, so others will have to continue to do his job for him.
H/T: The New York Times