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Trump Administration Ends DACA

9/5/2017


Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced that the Trump Administration was ending Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), the Obama-era policy that protects close to a million undocumented immigrants who grew up in the U.S. 

 

Since DACA was implemented, in 2012, its beneficiaries, who came to the U.S. as small children, have been living in the country under “lawful status.” They’ve been able to obtain work visas and driver’s licenses, and were free from the immediate fear of arrest and deportation. But DACA does not grant citizenship. “It’s a temporary, stopgap measure,” Obama said when he first announced the policy. Yet years have passed and Congress never formalized Dreamers’ status, despite the fact that a majority of Americans, across ideological lines, supported both their citizenship and their right to remain in the country. Ninety-seven per cent of DACA recipients are in school or in the workforce, and—per the conditions of the program—not one of them has a criminal history.

 

Even though Trump has told Dreamers “not to worry” after he took office, he was pressured by a group of hard-line Republican attorneys general to take action. In the end, Trump approved the phasing out of DACA starting in six months—during which time Congress may act to codify the program into law. Sessions What is currently understood is that while the government will no longer accept new DACA applications, it will continue to renew existing ones, which expire every two years, until March 5th. After that, current DACA recipients will have no recourse once their statuses expire. Thousands will drift into legal limbo each week.

 

Congress could prevent this, but over the last decade and a half it has failed to pass legislation known as the DREAM Act, which would create a path to citizenship for Dreamers. Still, the dramatic demise of DACA might compel lawmakers to act.