President Trump has reportedly decided to repeal the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA, as soon as Friday. Implemented under President Barack Obama, DACA is a two year, renewable program for undocumented immigrants who entered the United States as minors.
Immigrant rights activists say the DACA program has improved the lives of thousands of immigrants. Approximately 800,000 undocumented immigrants, who are commonly referred to as “Dreamers,” have been issued work visas, received a college education, or deferred deportation because of DACA, allowing them to stay independently and safely within their communities.
Officials in ten states have pledged to challenge the legality of DACA if President Trump does not agree to put an end to the program by September 5. Now that Trump has decided to rescind DACA, it is unclear whether the dissolution of the program will be gradual or instantaneous. Advocates are fearful that when the Trump Administration ends the program they will potentially call for the deportation of the 800,000 immigrants enrolled in DACA.
According to Human Rights Watch U.S. Advocacy Director Jasmine Tyler, the repeal of DACA would “expose hundreds of thousands of people to deportation by a cruel and unjust immigration system that fails to take into account their deep ties to the US.”
All over the country, immigrants and advocates have been demonstrating to protest the potential repeal of DACA. In New York City on August 30, over 1,000 protesters demonstrated outside of Trump Tower with #DefendDACA signs and chants. Several speakers spoke to the positive impact DACA has had on their lives and how the repeal of the DACA would be a direct attack on immigrant communities.
Since his inauguration, Trump has been moving forward with his mass deportation agenda which includes executive orders that have tripled the size of the Immigration and Custom’s Enforcement’s Enforcement and Removal Operations and allowed ICE the authority to deputize countless local law enforcement agents to act with the authority of federal officials in arresting and detaining undocumented immigrants. Trump’s anti-immigration stance was emphasized by his recent pardon for former Arizona Sherriff Joe Arpaio, who is infamous for unconstitutionally racially targeting and detaining individuals he suspected of being in the country without proper documentation.
Media Resources: New York Times 8/27/17; Politico 8/30/17; The Hill 8/28/17; Human Rights Watch 8/28/17; Feminist Newswire 8/29/17, 11/10/15