In September 2017, President Trump signed an Executive Order to phase out DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) over the next six months. DACA provided protection from the deportation of children brought into this country illegally by their parents – it has been stated that about 800,000 youth will be affected by the Executive Order. The end of those six months is near, with the termination of DACA on March 5th, 2018 if legislation does not pass.
Congress must act now to pass a law to replace DACA before it expires. But DACA was not included in the spending bill that led to our government’s shut down and many are protesting for a plan for these affected families.
No one can possibly want to deport a single kid who has DACA documentation—not even President Trump. But President Trump had a Hobson’s Choice.
President Obama attempted to expand DACA but in response governors from 25 states sued. In February 2015, the federal court in Texas issued a preliminary injunction enjoining implementation of DAPA (Deferred Action for Parents of Americans) and blocking the expansion of DACA. Eventually, the Supreme Court affirmed the decision in a 4-4 vote (before the nomination of Justice Neil Gorsuch was confirmed).
The states told the Administration that if by September 2017 it failed to rescind the DACA order, the complaint would be amended to challenge both the DACA and DAPA. Many constitutional experts agree that if that were to happen, DACA would most likely fall. Under that threat, President Trump bought six months for Congress to act before the states add DACA to their suit and kids are potentially deported. If President Trump had not acted, a Texas judge would have decided the fate of hundreds of thousands of children.
In my blog post “DACA: Demystifying the Blame Game” I go more into the topic. Read here for insight into the subject.
Trump has now offered Congress special treatment and a path to citizenship to more than 1.5 million undocumented immigrants, nearly twice as many as the Democrats purportedly wanted to protect. But now their leadership has rejected that offer as well. Shame on them. We are simply not a country that deports children who have done nothing wrong and who have contributed to our society and economy as much as anyone born here – indeed, many have been model citizens.
If that means giving Trump funding for his wall, that’s a small price to pay for the freedom our country offers these innocent children. If it means ending the visa program and curtailing chain immigration, that’s well worth saving the future for these children. Congress needs to stop its rhetoric and get things done before time runs out: Legislation must be passed supporting DACA and DAPA.