With a lawsuit over the program looming in September, President Donald Trump is being forced to consider whether to repeal DACA, or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.
Known as ‘Dreamers,’ recipients of DACA are generally young adults who illegally immigrated to the United States as children.
Contingent on being able to pass a criminal background check, Dreamers are given permission to live, work, and seek education in the United States. Every two years, they’re made to file for a renewal of their deportation deferral certificate, after which they’re granted another temporary visa allowance.
In the United States, there are some 800,000 DACA recipients, almost all of whom are facing an uncertain future as the administration ponders the possibility of eliminating the program.
Early in the 2016 presidential election, Donald Trump told media outlets and his supporters that wiping out DACA would be among his first priorities.
However, after assuming office, Donald Trump’s views on DACA became more nuanced, even as he began to clamp down on illegal immigration and refugee entries.
In January and throughout spring, he repeatedly assured Dreamers that they could “rest well,” saying the administration had “big hearts” for people who worked hard and had no say in coming to the United States.
While many Republican centrists have backed DACA as a reasonable solution for a difficult conundrum, the political leadership of several states, including Texas, has questioned the program’s constitutionality.
An impending lawsuit, spearheaded by Texas and in conjunction with nine other states, seeks to end DACA once and for all. Some political analysts have said the endeavor has a fair chance of success.
Although it’s unlikely that every Dreamer would be immediately or surely deported – there are simply too many – DACA recipients are worrying about how they’ll continue living in the country most have called home since an early age.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton issued an ultimatum to the government, demanding that DACA be phased out by September 5th.
“This request does not require the Executive Branch to immediately rescind DACA or Expanded DACA permits that have already been issued,” Paxton said. “And this request does not require the federal government to remove any alien.”
The former head of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, Vanita Gupta, worried about the message cutting DACA could send to the country.
“Targeting innocent immigrant young people would only deepen the moral crisis President Trump has plunged his administration into,” said Gupta, who now heads the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights. “In addition to being morally bankrupt and unjust, tearing immigrant families apart is bad for our economy. And sending people deeper into the shadows will only make our communities less safe.
“Instead of sowing more hate and division, we need to get back to the basic values of justice, fairness, and inclusivity that America was built on.”