President Donald Trump is expected to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program first put in to place by the Obama administration in 2012. DACA currently protects nearly 800,000 undocumented immigrants from deportation, according to a Department of Homeland Security report released in June. (The DHS report has since been taken down from the department’s official website.)
During a briefing on Harvey relief efforts on Friday, Trump said that his decision would be announced over the weekend, possibly as late as Labor Day.
During a speech in the Rose Garden in 2012, Obama argued that DREAMers didn’t make the decision to enter the U.S. illegally and shouldn’t be punished as a result.
After news broke Thursday that Trump was looking to end DACA, several prominent Republicans, including House Speaker Paul Ryan, have come forward to try to dissuade the president from taking such drastic action.
— CAP Action (@CAPAction) September 1, 2017
During an interview with radio station WCLO in Janesville, Wisconsin, Speaker Ryan, who has been a longtime opponent of DACA, said he has had “plenty of conversations with the White House” about keeping DACA in place until Congress can do its job and fix America’s broken immigration system.
The Obama administration created DACA after several failed attempts by Congress to pass a law to protect undocumented immigrants brought to the country as children from deportation.
Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) also tweeted a statement on Friday saying that rescinding DACA would “further complicate a system in need of a permanent, legislative solution.” Instead, he called for a permanent solution to deal with the innocent people “who entered our country unlawfully as children through no fault of their own and who have built their lives here.” He also insisted that the solution needed to come from Congress.
— Senator Hatch Office (@senorrinhatch) September 1, 2017
The Trump administration is planning to end the program by refusing new permits and allowing existing permits to expire with no opportunity for renewal, according to two Republican sources on Capitol Hill, CBS News reports.
Ten Republican attorneys general have been pressuring the White House to end DACA, threatening to sue the administration if it did not end the federal program prior to their September 5 deadline.
“They seem to have made the calculation that this actually helps them with their local politics,” Felicia Escobar, who worked on immigration policy in the Obama White House, told the New Yorker.
Leading the pack of ten is Ken Paxton, Attorney General of Texas. State officials in Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Idaho, Kansas, Tennessee, South Carolina, Nebraska, and West Virginia have also all embraced anti-immigration policies in recent years and are now looking to capitalize on the “anti-immigrant” sentiment that propelled Trump’s campaign and ultimately, they believe, won him the election.
Trump vowed to end DACA during his campaign, which he, along with a host of congressional Republicans including Ryan, have argued is unconstitutional. Ironically, if Trump ends DACA, Republicans in Congress will be under intense pressure to pass new legislation to protect DREAMers from deportation — legislation which the majority of Republicans have opposed since at least 2010 when House Republicans refused to even hold a vote on the bipartisan Dream Act.