• Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Subscribe
  • RSS

Trump Administration Announces End Of DACA, With Six Month Delay

DACA Protest

Late this morning, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced that the Deferred Action For Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which was announced in the summer of 2012 by President Obama and has impacted the lives of some three-quarters of a million people who were brought to the U.S. as children, would come to an end in six months:

WASHINGTON — President Trump on Tuesday ordered an end to the Obama-era executive action that shields young undocumented immigrants from deportation and called on Congress to replace the policy with legislation before it fully expires on March 5, 2018.

The government will no longer accept new applications from undocumented immigrants to shield them from deportation under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, known as DACA, administration officials announced Tuesday. But officials said about 800,000 current beneficiaries of the program will not be immediately affected by what they called an “orderly wind down” of former President Barack Obama’s policy.

President Trump signaled the move early Tuesday morning in a tweet, then Attorney General Jeff Sessions formally announced the move to shift the responsibility for the immigration issue to lawmakers.

“The program known as DACA that was effectuated under the Obama administration is being rescinded,” Mr. Sessions told reporters, adding that “The policy was implemented unilaterally, to great controversy and legal concern.”

Mr. Sessions called the Obama-era policy an “open-ended circumvention of immigration laws” and an unconstitutional use of executive authority. “The executive branch through DACA deliberately sought to achieve what the legislative branch specifically refused to authorize on multiple occasions,” he said.

“The nation must set and enforce a limit on how many immigrants we accept each year, and that means all cannot be accepted.”

Elaine Duke, the acting Homeland Security secretary, said in a statement that Mr. Trump chose to “wind the program down in an orderly fashion that protects beneficiaries in the near-term while working with Congress to pass legislation.”

The announcement was an effort by Mr. Trump to honor his campaign pledge to end Mr. Obama’s immigration policy, while avoiding an immediate termination of protections and work permits for the so-called “dreamers,” many of whom have lived in the United States since they were small children.

“We are people of compassion, and we are people of law, but there is nothing compassionate about the failure to enforce immigration law,” Mr. Sessions said.

Referring to Mr. Trump’s campaign promise to immediately terminate DACA, Mr. Sessions said Tuesday’s action was what “the president had promised to do,” adding that Mr. Trump “has delivered to the American people.”

But the announcement formally started the clock on revoking legal status from those protected under the five-year-old program.

Officials said some of the current immigrants already receiving protection under the Obama-era plan will be able to renew their two-year period of legal status until October 5. But the announcement means that if Congress fails to act, undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States as children could face deportation as early as March to countries where many of them have never lived.

Immigration officials said that they do not intend to actively target the young immigrants as priorities for deportation, though without the program’s protection, the immigrants are considered subject to removal from the United States and would no longer be able to work legally.

Homeland Security officials said no specific guidance would be issued to agents to shield the young undocumented immigrants from deportation. It would be up to Congress to extend such protection, they said.

None of this comes as a surprise, of course. For several weeks now there had been suggestions that Trump was leaning toward ending the program, but its fate remained uncertain, especially in light of comments that Trump himself had made both during the 2016 campaign and after he took office that seemed to suggest at least some sympathy for the 750,000 people who had received deferrals from deportation from the program over the past five years. This was despite the fact that he often told supporters at campaign rallies that he would end DACA as one of his first acts as President. Additionally, the Administration was being pressured by a group of Republican state Attorneys General who were threatening to sue the Administration if they failed to announce that the program would be ending by today. Even late last week when the White House announced that the President would be making an announcement regarding the fate of the program today, though, it wasn’t clear which way the President would proceed. Additionally, the fact that most of the news last week was focused on the impact of Hurricane Harvey in Houston and the surrounding area meant that very little attention was being paid to other issues such as the fate of this program. By the Sunday, though, the fate of the DACA program seemed clear as Politico reported that the program would end but that the decision would be delayed for six months, ostensibly to give Congress time to act to save it assuming the support could be found to do so.

In his announcement, Attorney General Sessions repeated the claim that many on the right have made that President Obama acted illegally when he implemented the DACA program five years ago, but that is by no means certain. At the time of the announcement, the Administration asserted that existing law gave the President sufficient discretionary authority to implement the program as part of a broader exercise of the traditional discretion granted to prosecutors over whether or not to press charges when it comes to any other violation of the law. Notwithstanding the legal arguments made by Texas and the other Republican states that were threatening litigation over the program, there is at least some support in the law for this matter. Additionally, it’s worth noting that while the subsequent program enacted by former President Obama that extended DACA-like protections to the parents of many DAPA beneficiaries had been the subject of several adverse Court rulings, for the most part those rulings were based on the Administration’s decision to implement the program without complying with certain provisions of the Administrative Procedures Act that require a notice and comment period for regulatory changes, As a result, even that more controversial program has not been declared to be per se illegal.

Leaving aside the legal issues, it’s clear that DACA was a wise decision from a policy point of view and that ending it is quite simply the wrong position to take. As has been noted many times in the past, the people who benefited from DACA were brought to this country as children who had no real say regarding the question of whether to cross the border illegally or not. Most of them have lived the vast majority of their lives in the United States and have no real memory of, or connection with the nation they were born in, and some don’t even have family members in the country with whom they could connect should they be deported thanks to this decision. In the time that these people have been in the country, they have gone to American schools, adopted Amerian customs, assimilated into American society, and contributed to our economy in significant ways. Most recently, many of them were among the brave volunteers who helped save people in the wake of a devastating hurricane, in some cases even dying in the process of saving others. To kick them out of the country at a whim in this manner is quite simply cruel, heartless, and accomplishes nothing other than allowing this President to pander to the same xenophobic, anti-immigrant base that he has pandered to since beginning his campaign for President two years ago.

In theory, the six-month delay opens the door to Congress taking action to save the program via legislation, and at least on paper, there does seem to be some support for doing just that. Over the past week, several top Republicans, along with other groups tied to the Republican Party, voiced support for DACA and called on the President to keep it rather than seeking to end it. This list has included Speaker of the House Paul Ryan and Senate President Pro Tempore Orrin Hatch, as well a host of other Republicans such as Florida Governor Rick Scott and North Carolina Senator Thom Tillis. Outside of politics, support for keeping the program came from the business community and religious groups. Additionally, Speaker Ryan himself has voiced support for Congressional legislation that would essentially codify the DACA program by extending the protections given to this group of people  It has also been suggested that the program could be saved by a deal that would allow funding for the President’s border wall to be put into the budget that Congress must pass before the end of the month in exchange for making the DACA program permanent. How much support there would be for such a deal among Democrats in either the House or the Senate is unclear, however.

In any case, the ball is now in Congress’s court, and we’ll see if the Republicans who spent the last two weeks or so urging the President to keep DACA in place meant what they said.

Related Posts:

About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. michael reynolds says:

    This is cruel legislation that serves no useful purpose but is intended solely to feed the racist, Nazi base of the Republican Party.

    The party of small government now wants to send armed government agents to drag children away from home, school, friends and parents and ship them to a country they’ve never known, where there may be literally no one to support them.

    This is not just Trump, this is the GOP. This is the inevitable end result of GOP rhetoric and GOP house organs like Fox.

    We are breaking a promise to these children. We are terrifying children. We are treating children who have done nothing wrong, like criminals.

    What the holy fwck is the matter with people who support this? What kind of snakes live in their heads? And most of these people call themselves Christians.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 25 Thumb down 2

  2. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    Comb-over Donnie campaigned on this. So no surprise.
    What gets me is that the self-claimed big brave alpha male didn’t even have the balls to make the announcement himself. What a fvcking coward. Just weak. Pathetically weak.
    Again…that’s no surprise either.
    It’s no wonder Dumb Donnie is getting played like a piano by the likes of Putin and Kim Jong Un. He’s too weak to make any kind of meaningful stand. Some angry tweets, to get his sycophants riled up, is all he has.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 1

  3. al-Ameda says:

    It has also been suggested that the program could be saved by a deal that would allow funding for the President’s border wall to be put into the budget that Congress must pass before the end of the month in exchange for making the DACA program permanent. How much support there would be for such a deal among Democrats in either the House or the Senate is unclear, however.

    Well there you go. He kept his inhumane and immoral promise to his low-value, low-information voter base. So of course he wants to leverage the lives of about a million DACA folks against a budget authorization for his Vanity Wall Project.

    Again, to all of you out there who thought, and perhaps still think: (1) there is no difference between the political parties, and (2) we had a choice in November and Hillary was the greater evil. To you I recommend more Kool-Aid, advanced electric shock therapy, and no further rights to vote in any election – local, state, or federal.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 0

  4. Tyrell says:

    Time for Congress to put their heads together, and come up with a logical, sensible plan.
    They are up to bat. Let’s see they’ve got.
    Play ball

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  5. michael reynolds says:

    @Tyrell:
    Do you live in a red state? Call your congresspeople and senators. Mine are already on-board, are yours?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  6. Mister Bluster says:

    “This does not mean they are bad people or that our nation disrespects or demeans them in any way.” Sessions

    “When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re not sending you. They’re not sending you. They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists.”
    President Pud

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

  7. Just Another Ex-Republican says:

    While my lack of respect for Trump runs deep, he sometimes comes close to a valid point (stopped clock and all that). And like when he called out Congress for not coming up with an Obamacare replacement after 7 years, the truth here is once again that Republicans in Congress could have fixed this years ago but chose to score political points with it instead.

    Not that I have much optimism those useless wastes of genetic material masquerading as Congressional Republicans will manage to do the right thing, but forcing them to take responsibility on the issue isn’t entirely a bad thing (regardless of his motives).

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  8. Mister Bluster says:

    “This does not mean they are bad people or that our nation disrespects or demeans them in any way.” Sessions

    Pork Chop Pud:
    When will the U.S. stop sending $’s to our enemies, i.e. Mexico and others.

    The Mexican legal system is corrupt, as is much of Mexico. Pay me the money that is owed me now – and stop sending criminals over our border.

    El Chapo and the Mexican drug cartels use the border unimpeded like it was a vacuum cleaner, sucking drugs and death right into the U.S.

    I’ve been treated very unfairly by this judge. Now, this judge is of Mexican heritage.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  9. KM says:

    @michael reynolds:

    What the holy fwck is the matter with people who support this? What kind of snakes live in their heads? And most of these people call themselves Christians.

    They don’t care, Micheal. They don’t care these kids didn’t break the law themselves or had no legal recourse to address their immigration status. They don’t care these children are essentially American – were raised as one, speak like one, act like one. Honestly, the only way most of the angry losers who love this move can tell a kid’s a Dreamer is guess by their skin tone. That alone is enough to scream “Deport!” for this crowd.

    What’s an eight year old Dreamer old going to do? Self-deport? Do they even know where or how to find “where they came from” on a map? What’s a fifteen year old going to do? Navigate through our bureaucracy to find a loophole and stay in the only home they’ve ever known? Trumpkins don’t care. Caring means bothering to learn or think about things. They just want to wave flags and scream hate and expect things to magically get better now that Dreamers need to GTFO. The day a Trumpkin cares is the day they have a heart attack from overworking that poor neglected muscle.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  10. Kylopod says:

    @Just Another Ex-Republican:

    While my lack of respect for Trump runs deep, he sometimes comes close to a valid point (stopped clock and all that). And like when he called out Congress for not coming up with an Obamacare replacement after 7 years, the truth here is once again that Republicans in Congress could have fixed this years ago but chose to score political points with it instead.

    That’s setting the bar reaaaaally low for what is to be considered a “valid point,” now isn’t it? Why am I supposed to be impressed that Trump always shifts the blame someone else, which just happens to coincide with the mundane fact that there were problems before he came along? He doesn’t remotely give any added insight into the issue, he doesn’t even demonstrate that he’s in any way better than what you describe of choosing to “score political points.”

    Usually when people invoke the stopped clock metaphor, they’re describing someone with at least some rudimentary understanding of an issue (say, Pat Buchanan on Iraq). The way you’re talking, you might as well be referring to a toddler who just happens to be right that his mommy didn’t give him the toy he wanted.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  11. teve tory says:

    Say an 18 yro has been here since they were 6 mos old. The family’s from honduras. He grew up here, he only speaks english, everybody he knows is here. He just got accepted to Ohio State, and wants to study chemistry.

    If you want to arrest this kid and drop him off a bus in Rando Town, Honduras, you’re just a shitty person.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 17 Thumb down 0

  12. teve tory says:

    He couldn’t even own up to it. He got Sessions to announce it. Seriously, fück this asshole. I hope he gets hit in the face by an asteroid going 56,000 mph.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1

  13. Just 'nutha ig'nint cracker says:

    @Just Another Ex-Republican:

    but forcing them to take responsibility on the issue isn’t entirely a bad thing (regardless of his motives).

    I think this counts as more of an unintended consequence than a plan or a “valid point.” Moreover, they won’t take responsibility anyway. They’ll blame the Democrats and Obama for “overriding the rule of law” and their constituency will eat it up.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  14. David M says:

    I’m not optimistic, I haven’t forgotten DACA was only required b/c the GOP has blocked the equivalent legislation for years.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  15. Just 'nutha ig'nint cracker says:

    @Just ‘nutha ig’nint cracker: Have they ever “taken responsibility” for the fact that they didn’t have a plan to replace the ACA even though they were saying that they had been thwarted in their efforts to present “their plan” at the time? Do the feckless imbeciles that vote for them even care? And now we’re talking about people who “aren’t even ‘Murk’n.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  16. An Interested Party says:

    The pint-sized bigot wasn’t even honest in defending this atrocious action…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 2

  17. Tyrell says:

    @Just ‘nutha ig’nint cracker: Listen, bro, I know some people, a few mind you, who have voted Republican: school teacher, policeman, nurse, car salesman, and insurance agent. They are not “imbeciles”. A lot of people around here are older and are still Democrats – southern. I only voted Republican for president once: Nixon in 1972. Senator McGovern was an honorable man, but his campaign was in collapse.
    Famous southern Democrats: Lyndon Johnson, Ervin, Fulbright, Russell, Sanford, Carter, Rayburn, Connally, Hollings, Nunn.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  18. Bob The Arqubusier says:

    @michael reynolds: This is cruel legislation that serves no useful purpose but is intended solely to feed the racist, Nazi base of the Republican Party.

    Your ignorance here is a perfect demonstration of precisely why Trump’s actions here were right. Because you really don’t understand the actual words you use.

    This isn’t “legislation.” “Legislation” means, literally, the works of a legislature.

    Obama said, about two dozen times, that he couldn’t just unilaterally protect the so-called “DREAMers” by his own; that it would take an act of Congress to change the law. (And he was right, by the way.) But when he couldn’t get Congress to pass the law, he did it anyway with an executive order.

    Well, the thing about executive orders is that, when the executive changes, so can the orders. What one president can unilaterally do, another can unilaterally undo. Elections Have Consequences.

    Trump’s undone Obama’s mistake and thrown it back into Congress’ court — where it belongs.

    Want it changed? Start working on Congress for them to step up and DO THEIR JOBS.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  19. Bob The Arqubusier says:

    @Bob The Arqubusier: Let me correct myself: Obama didn’t implement DACA through an executive order, but through a memo directing the Justice Department to simply not enforce the laws in those cases. So much for Article II, Section 3 of the US Constitution:

    “…he shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed…”

    Anyway, that makes my point even stronger: anything Obama did by a memo (his infamous “pen and phone”), Trump can undo the exact same way. And he has.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  20. CSK says:

    @Daryl’s other brother Darryl: @teve tory:

    Trump’s a pathetic weakling, a proud ignoramus, and a congenital liar with no principles and no moral center. He has the temperament and world view of a toddler.

    Remember after the great pussy-grabbing flap when Melania was called upon to defend her husband, and the best she could do was describe him as a “little boy”?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  21. KM says:

    @Bob The Arqubusier:

    Elections Have Consequences.

    They do indeed. Trump’s name is going to be all over it when 6 months pass and Congress has done nothing. See, these are generally considered to be the “good ones” – they’re not drug dealers cartels sent to America, bad hombres as he said. Dreamers have jobs, go to school, serve in the military and generally contribute to our society the way Americans traditionally think immigrants should do. They are productive (non) citizens who would LOVE to not be illegal anymore. Their only problem is their parents broke the law and screwed them over – even if they try to do things the “right way” they are hamstrung by laws that punish them for another’s crime.

    For all his talk about “law’s the law” he misses the point that these laws were not designed to deal with secondary victims aka the children who had no say in their illegal status. Trump’s picking a fight he’s going to lose. Congress will do nothing and then it will fall back to him: keep your campaign promise or piss off whole chunks of the country who realize how unfair this all is. The public isn’t against the Dreamers as they are not generally perceived as the “bad ones” when illegal immigration comes up. Already, there’s people stating there should be exemptions for the ones in the military, indicting the public won’t turn on them like Trump wants.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  22. Just 'nutha ig'nint cracker says:

    @Tyrell: I’m going to stand my ground here. People who voted for Donald Trump are either feeble minded (in the colloquial sense), irresponsible, or driven by malice. I’m an old guy now, too, and know of no particular evidence that demonstrates that school teachers, police officers, nurses, car sales people, or insurance agents are exempt from having their decision processes affected by rank stupidity (imbeciles, in the colloquial sense), irresponsibility, or malice.

    I appreciate your attempt to give these poxes on our society the cover of saying “see, ordinarily good people can vote for Trump, too,” but I’m not buying it any longer. Good people simply don’t do the kinds of things Republicans do. It’s not ideological anymore. It’s sociopathic.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0