Administration Announces Plan to End DACA
The Trump Administration has announced that it will begin winding down the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program instituted by President Barack Obama in 2012.
The program applies to immigrants who came to the country illegally and meet certain criteria, including having entered the country as a minor. Those who are eligible for protection are granted two-years of deferred punitive action (during which they will not face deportation) and are made eligible for a work permit during the two-year period.
The president made the announcement in a tweet Tuesday morning, writing, “Congress, get ready to do your job – DACA!”
In a press conference held shortly after the president’s tweet, United States Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the agency would begin working to implement the change immediately, saying, “Simply put, if we are to further our goal of strengthening the constitutional order and the rule of law in America, the Department of Justice cannot defend this type of overreach."
Currently, about 800,000 undocumented immigrants are covered under DACA, and 300,000 will begin losing their status in 2018, if DACA protections are ended, and over 320,000 would lose their protected status between January and August 2019, according to the New York Times.
Congress returns to work this week following the August district work break and faces many major priorities over the course of the next month, but Speaker of the House Paul Ryan has expressed support for the idea of Congress taking an active role in addressing DACA, saying “this is something that Congress has to fix.”
Though he has occasionally expressed marginal support for DACA and those protected by it, President Trump’s hand may have been forced slightly by a letter from ten state attorneys general, in which the AGs threatened to challenge DACA in court if the administration did not end the program by September 5th -- a vociferous level of support for ending DACA said to be shared by Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
According to the New York Times, The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has stated that it will continue renewing permits for anyone whose status expires in the next six months, thus providing a time buffer for those facing a potential status expiration while Congress decides how it will address the law.
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