Republican President Donald Trump has signaled his intention to dismantle the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program this week. According to news reports, Trump will terminate the program, but provide Congress with a six month window to pass legislation to cover the so-called DREAMers.
DACA was put into place by President Barack Obama after Republican hard-liners in the House of Representatives refused to allow legislation that would have given status to undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as children to reach the House floor.
The U.S. Senate had passed a bipartisan bill that appeared to be able to pass both houses of Congress.
DACA has allowed more than 800,000 undocumented young people to come out of the shadows by allowing them to halt their deportations and to obtain work authorization. With valid work authorization, they could obtain drivers' licenses, get a job, pay taxes and have proof of identity.
All that will apparently be coming to an end, unless Congress acts quickly.
When Trump ran for President and won the Republican nomination, he promised to end the program which many conservatives view as an abuse of executive power.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions, has argued that Congress — rather than the executive branch — is responsible for writing immigration law, helped persuade the president to terminate the program and kick the issue to Congress, the two sources told Politico.
Trump is expected to formally announce the end of DACA on September 5th, and the White House informed House Speaker Paul Ryan of the president’s decision a few days ago. Ryan had said during a radio interview recently that he didn’t think the president should terminate DACA and that Congress should work on a statutory fix for the situation.
Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah, one of Trump's top conservative defenders in the Senate, also released a statement last week advocating for DACA's survival.
"I've urged the president not to rescind DACA, an action that would further complicate a system in serious need of a permanent, legislative solution," Hatch said. "Like the president, I've long advocated for tougher enforcement of our existing immigration laws. But we also need a workable, permanent solution for individuals who entered our country unlawfully as children through no fault of their own."
Other Republicans in the Senate have also urged Congress to act. Time will tell whether the Congress will pass meaningful legislation or not.