On Tuesday, the White House announced the end of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Criticism immediately poured forth from many sectors, including activists, industry and elected officials.
The public didn’t back the decision, either. A poll by Morning Consult and Politico revealed that 76% of Americans backed either naturalization or permanent legal resident status for Dreamers. Of course, Trump supporters showed the least support for Dreamers, but even among this group only 26% favored deportation. More than 2/3 want to see Dreamers granted citizenship or permanent status.
Dreamers and their supporters took to the streets on Tuesday, and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops released a statement calling the cancellation of the DACA program “reprehensible.” Mark Zuckerberg changed his Facebook profile picture to read “I support DACA,” and Tim Cook tweeted that 250 of his Apple colleagues were Dreamers and he stood with them, going on to say, “They deserve our respect as equals and a solution rooted in American values.”
In short, few outside the White House support the measure.
Trump himself did not deliver the news, leaving the official announcement in the hands of Attorney General Jeff Sessions—a vocal opponent of immigration—to make the unpopular announcement. The declaration was simple: the order establishing the DACA program would be rescinded in six months, making nearly 800,000 young people who registered with the government in good faith eligible for deportation.
Trump bounced the issue to the legislature, challenging Congress to “legalize DACA” in the six months between the announcement and the scheduled termination of the program. Though the legislature failed to take such action during the Obama administration, the overwhelming public support and the past support of members of the House and Senate make the time ripe for legislation.
Data compiled by MoveOn.org reveals that 60 Senators and 222 members of the House of Representatives have sponsored or voted in favor of pro-DACA legislation in the past. Vocal proponents of such legislation include influencers at the highest levels, including former President Obama. In a rare move, Obama released a statement shortly after the White House announcement, arguing that “we shouldn’t threaten the future of this group of young people who are here through no fault of their own, who pose no threat, who are not taking anything away from the rest of us.”
Less than a week after the announcement, at least two lawsuits are in the works. On Wednesday, Attorneys General from 15 states and the District of Columbia filed suit in the federal district court for the Eastern District of New York. The suit alleges that rescinding DACA would:
On Friday, the University of California also filed suit. Janet Napolitano, former Secretary of Homeland Security is now President of the vast University of California system.
Napolitano’s suit alleges that the administration has violated the Constitutional right to due process in abruptly ending the program. The University argues that the move harms not only thousands of undocumented students enrolled at various University campuses, but also the University itself.
The numbers to pass DACA legislation are close in the legislature, and although a majority of Congressmen and Senators have supported pro-DACA legislation in the past, no single bill has received enough support to become law. With the clock ticking, the legislature must act. Otherwise, hundreds of thousands of young people who have never known any home except the United States may face deportation. Now is the time to make our voices heard. Tell your legislators to prioritize a solution that will allow Dreamers to confidently and openly move forward with the lives they’ve built in this country.
The Alagiri Immigration Law Firm helps people with U.S. immigration matters. For more information, call (650) 931-2509, email firstname.lastname@example.org or fill out the contact form on this site.