The Trump administration has announced it will rescind the protections offered by DACA, and their plans going forth are unclear.
Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) was instituted by the Obama administration as a protection for eligible immigrant youth that entered the country as minors. It permitted them to work in the states and to be shielded from deportation, so long as they were students, high school graduates, or veterans, and were not convicted of any crimes. Immigrants only needed to ensure that they renewed this every two years. The median recipient is 22-years-old, and 75% of recipients are both employed and paid an average of $17 an hour. In short, those protected are law-abiding members of society that provide an estimated $60 billion in tax revenue.
Jeff Sessions’ announcement on September 5th was evocative of his hard-line immigration stance. His position as the bearer of this news is widely regarded as an indicator of his emphasized role in rescinding the DACA protections. While Trump himself is reported to have had “conflicting emotions about those who were brought to the country as children,” Sessions has declared the primary obligation of government to ensure the well-being of citizens. He deemed the act an overreach of executive power and consistently referred to recipients as “illegal aliens” in his address. The current plan is to conduct an “orderly wind-down” of the program. The specifics are as follows:
The Department of Homeland Security will provide a six-month window for renewal.
Application for legal status dated after Sept. 5, 2017, will not be accepted. All initial requests and accompanying documents will be rejected by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.
Initial applications received prior to Sept. 5, 2017, will be treated on a case-by-case basis by the USCIS.
Current recipients must apply for renewal by Oct. 5, 2017.
The decision has been defended as a proper enforcement of existing immigration law, a protection for the opportunities of American citizens, and a means of preventing the “humanitarian” issue that arises when people risk crossing borders illegally.
Since the announcement, Mr. Obama has released a lengthy statement in response, but he never directly attacks the Trump administration. He simply echoes the sentiment shared by recipients: “To target these young people is wrong — because they have done nothing wrong. It is self-defeating — because they want to start new businesses, staff our labs, serve in our military and otherwise contribute to the country we love. And it is cruel.” Like many audiences, he asks for the best of Congressional action in preventing the unnecessary threat of deportation looming over Dreamers.