Trump to End DACA
President Donald Trump plans to end an Obama-era program preventing the deportation of immigrants illegally brought to the U.S. as children, putting in legal limbo about 1 million people who consider themselves Americans.
Trump will delay the end of the program, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals or DACA, for several months in the hope that Congress can pass legislation to codify the protections President Barack Obama created, an administration official said. A second person familiar with Trump’s decision said the end of the program would be delayed six months.
“Congress, get ready to do your job - DACA!” Trump said on Twitter Tuesday morning as lawmakers returned to Washington from their August recess.
Business leaders and lawmakers from both parties have warned the president that ending the program would have economic and social consequences. Some Republicans, including House Speaker Paul Ryan, said while they don’t agree with the executive action that began the policy five years ago, it should be up to Congress to come up with a more permanent solution.
Senator Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican, said Monday that Obama’s action was “a presidential overreach” but that the immigrants it protects “know no country other than America.”
“If President Trump makes this decision we will work to find a legislative solution to their dilemma,” he said in a statement.
Polls show that the vast majority of Americans believe that immigrants protected from deportation by DACA should be allowed to remain in the U.S.
During last year’s campaign Trump described the program as unconstitutional and promised to end it on his first day in office. Since assuming the presidency, though, he has spoken kindly of DACA’s beneficiaries and his administration has granted thousands of new permits to so-called “Dreamers.”
Attorneys general in 10 states threatened a legal challenge if the program continued beyond Sept. 5, creating a political deadline for Trump to make a decision on DACA. One state, Tennessee, dropped its threat in a letter from the state attorney general last week, citing the program’s “human element.”
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi described the move to end DACA as a “cruel act of political cowardice” by Trump and called for a legislative fix.
“Congress must move immediately to protect these courageous, patriotic Dreamers,” Pelosi said Monday in a statement. “House Republicans must join Democrats to pass legislation to safeguard our young DREAMers from the senseless cruelty of deportation and shield families from separation and heartbreak.”
There are a few legislative possibilities, including two bills introduced by Republican senators. The Dream Act of 2017 (S.1615) would codify parts of the DACA program, and the Bridge Act (S.128) would extend those same protections for three years to give lawmakers more time to work out a more permanent solution.
Senator Thom Tillis, a North Carolina Republican, also plans to introduce a measure shielding the young immigrants from deportation for five years if they work, pursue higher education or serve in the military.