Bad News for Dreamers;The Future of DACA in Question
July 13, 2017
The Department of Homeland Security's Secretary John Kelly has recently
confirmed that the Trump administration would not commit to defending DACA should the program be challenged in federal courts. DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals), currently provides relief to nearly 800,000 individuals who were brought to the United States as children and meet certain requirements. Although DACA does not grant legal status, it defers deportation for individuals who meet the criteria and allows such individuals to obtain authorization to legally work in the US.
This program, enacted by the Obama administration, has been targeted by Republicans and anti-immigration activists who dispute its constitutionality. While President Trump has promised to terminate the program during the presidential campaign, his attitude towards the program has softened significantly after inauguration. This has angered many immigration hardliners who were expecting that the new administration would rescind the program.
The threat comes from a pending lawsuit from attorney generals of 10 states which challenged the constitutionality of a related immigration program, Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (or DAPA). The states argued that Obama "overextended his authority when he granted DACA to these young immigrants." They are also threatening to add DACA to their complaints, thus forcing the administration to defend or abandon it. The Trump administration has until September 5, 2017, to decide if the administration will phase out DACA or risk a court challenge by the 10 states. If the ten states, led by Texas Governor Greg Abbott, are successful, their efforts would result in 800,000 young people going from "documented" to "un-documented," in a potentially severe reversal of immigration policy.