Trump Calls on Congress to Replace Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program
The Donald Trump administration confirmed on Tuesday morning that it plans to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which was introduced five years ago by former President Barack Obama.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who had long called for ending the program, confirmed the administration’s plan in an address on Tuesday, saying that the Obama administration had disrespected the legal process by putting the program in place.
The DACA program came into effect in 2012 via Obama’s executive authority, instead of through formal legislation passed by the House and Senate.
Trump is now giving Congress six months to to take legislative action and end the program.
Congress, get ready to do your job – DACA!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 5, 2017
The DACA program allows undocumented immigrants who entered the country as minors to study and work in the United States. The program is reportedly protecting roughly 800,000 such immigrants, who may be forced to leave the U.S. and go back to their countries of birth, even though many of the immigrants have no connection to their birth countries.
The conservatives in the Trump administration are standing by Sessions’ side, but not all Republicans are in agreement. It seems that the Republican-dominated Congress may be divided on the matter.
For instance, House Speaker Paul Ryan said that he remains open to a legislative solution in support of the affected immigrants. “It is my hope that the House and Senate, with the president’s leadership, will be able to find consensus on a permanent legislative solution that includes ensuring that those who have done nothing wrong can still contribute as a valued part of this great country,” said Ryan.
Likewise, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell indicated a similar stance earlier this year, saying, “I mean, these are young people who were brought here at a tender age and who have grown up here, or are in the process of growing up here. I’m very sympathetic to that situation.”
Meanwhile, the Democrats, despite being in the minority, have indicated that they may leverage their position on spending bills in exchange for protections for these immigrants. Democratic Representative Luis Gutierrez said, “If they need our votes, we are bringing 800,000 young immigrants with us.”
Trump gave Congress until March 5, 2018 to pass legislation to replace the DACA Program.
“Trump Administration Ends DACA Program for Immigrants,” The Wall Street Journal, September 5, 2017.
“DACA has made sense to me”: Republican lawmakers pledge to support DACA over Trump,” Salon, September 5, 2017.