President Donald Trump is expected to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, (DACA) on Tuesday. The Obama-era program grants work permits to undocumented immigrants who arrived in the country as children.
Tuesday’s deadline was set by several Republican-led states to repeal DACA or face a lawsuit over what Congress views as the federal government’s failure to enforce immigration laws.
President Trump’s expected announcement will likely rally his base, specifically by emphasizing his broader campaign message about the importance of securing the border with tougher immigration laws. Ending DACA is likely to be one of the most contentious decisions set forth by the Trump administration—opposed by leaders of both parties and the political establishment more broadly.
The average DACA recipient is 22 years old, employed, and a student (AFP)
The White House and Congress not wanting to take ownership of ending DACA or backlash for the fate of the approximately 800,000 undocumented immigrants benefiting from DACA point fingers at each other. Though most Republicans believe that rolling back DACA is a solid legal decision, the process would set into motion issues surrounding the emotional strain and anxiety within the undocumented and Hispanic community. Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch joined Ryan in cautioning Trump against rolling back the program.
Senior White House aides met Sunday afternoon to discuss Trump’s decision to end DACA, which could likely ignite a political firestorm. By ending DACA, Trump is fulfilling one of his core campaign promises.
Trump has faced harsh criticism and warning from members of his party not to scrap the program.
Senior Republicans urging Trump not to end DACA
Several senior Republican are urging President Trump not to end DACA, the Obama-era executive order that protects about 800,000 undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as children from deportation. They’re also saying it’s time for Congress to pass legislation to protect the “DREAMERS.”
Speaker Paul Ryan: “These are kids who know no other country, who were brought here by their parents and don’t know another home. And so I really do believe there that there needs to be a legislative solution.”
Sen. Orrin Hatch: “We need a workable, permanent solution for individuals … who have built their lives here.”
Florida Gov. Rick Scott: “These kids must be allowed to pursue the American Dream, and Congress must act on this immediately.”
Sen. Jeff Flake: “Congress needs to take immediate action to protect DACA kids.”
Sen. Marco Rubio: “My hope is that as part of this process we can work on a way to deal with this issue and solve it through legislation, which is the right way to do it and the constitutional way to do it,” Rubio told CNN in June.
California is home to approximately 220,000 “Dreamers” more than any other state, putting those affected by Trump’s decision at risk for deportation—making the stakes even higher for the group of immigrants.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions, responsible for writing immigration law, reportedly helped persuade President Trump to terminate the program, according to White House aides, who also said that the president’s decision to end DACA was not set in stone until an official announcement is made.
The White House will delay the enforcement of Trump’s decision for six months, which would give Congress a window to act accordingly. A senior White House official said that chief of staff John Kelly, who has headed West Wing policy process on the issue, “thinks Congress should’ve gotten its act together a lot longer ago.”
Many on the right, even those who support protections for children entering the US illegally through no fault of their own, argue that DACA is unconstitutional because former President Barack Obama carried it out unilaterally instead of working through Congress.
Trump’s expected decision to scrap DACA presents another challenge for Ryan and fellow congressional Republicans, facing an end-of-September deadline to avert a government shutdown, government debt default and challenges with the Hurricane Harvey relief package, and a major tax reform push.
Trump’s decision to end the DACA program comes on the heels of White House press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, statement on Friday pointing out the decision has been weighing on the president, who in recent months has said, “the Dreamers should rest easy.”
“We love the Dreamers,” Trump said Friday when asked by a reporter if Dreamers should worry. “We love everybody.”
Trump has also faced pressure from Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton and several other Republican-led states to end the program before Sept. 5. In a letter to Sessions, Paxton said that if the program were rescinded by the deadline, the Republican-led states — which include Alabama, Arkansas, Kansas, Idaho, Louisiana, Nebraska, South Carolina and West Virginia, would drop threats of a lawsuit against the federal government. Critics say the program wrongfully rewards people who are in the country illegally, granting them de facto “amnesty.”
DACA implemented five years ago as an executive order under then-President Obama provided temporary deportation relief, work permits, and in some states, driver’s licenses to undocumented immigrants who entered the country illegally as children. Supporters considered Obama’s executive order at the time, as a stand-alone victory in the decades-long push for comprehensive immigration reform.
By LeNora Millen 09-04-17