Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced on Tuesday that the Trump administration formally puts an end to DACA or the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. The announcement immediately drew protests from DACA recipients and supporters.
DACA protected close to 800,000 undocumented immigrants from deportation. They were still children when they were brought to the United States.
As of Tuesday, September 12, processing by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) of new applications for the DACA program will stop.
Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)
DACA was enacted under the Obama administration five years ago. The former undocumented children included in the program have grown up and have started families. They studied in American schools and universities across the country and pursued various careers.
While many considered it unconstitutional, Democrats and many Republicans whose views were moderate supported the program. They cited the contributions given to society by the people under the program, who are called Dreamers. They are sympathetic to these people, as most of them have never known any other home.
Just like Obamacare, Trump is critical of DACA, saying that former President Obama should not have created the program, which was enforced through executive authority.
He said that his administration would resolve the issue lawfully through a democratic process, adding that any immigration reform his administration adopts would provide enduring benefits to American citizens.
The Trump administration plans to continue renewing permits to DACA participants whose status will expire within the next six months. They said that this is the least disruptive option because 10 conservative state attorneys general threatened to challenge the DACA program in court.
This plan gives Congress some time to come up with the solution before recipients lose their ability to live, work and study in the United States without fear of deportation.
Trump pressed Congress to find a solution to the DACA issue. But on Wednesday, one day after the announcement that DACA has been rescinded, the President tweeted that he would revisit the issue if Congress does not have a solution by March.
Earlier, the administration announced the only a legislative fix could resolve the issue.
Jeff Sessions said that DACA will not survive a court challenge and said that failing to enforce immigration laws is not being compassionate. Previous failure to enforce the laws placed the country at risk of violence, crime and possibly terrorism. He added that to be compassionate, the country must put an end to lawlessness.
However, CNN got a copy of an internal memo for the DHS staff from Elaine Duke, the acting Homeland Security Secretary. The authenticity of the memo was verified by David Lapan, the DHS spokesperson. The memo said that she was frustrated on behalf of the DACA recipients because the program was nothing more than a parole.
The Dreamers were never promised to enjoy legal statue or have the rights of citizenship in the U.S. It is nothing more than a bureaucratic delay.
Congress is expected to have a solution to preserve the protections under the DACA program before the recipients start to lose their status by March 5 next year.
DACA status of anyone will not be revoked before expiration, according to administration officials. Recipients whose status expires on March 5 still have one month to apply for a new permit, allowing them to stay for two years.
If Congress fails to act, the status of about 300,000 people will be lost by 2018. From January to August 2019, another 320,000 will lose their status.