Over 800,000 young people known as "Dreamers" may be deported beginning in March due to President Trump's announcement this morning to end DACA, President Obama's executive order which shielded young immigrants who came to this country as children from deportation.
Under DACA, or the Deferred Action For Childhood Arrivals act, these children were able to temporarily work or study in the country while their quest for citizenship remained in limbo. President Trump has reversed the act on the grounds that it was an illegal overreach of power by President Obama, who enacted it by an executive order. Trump's relying on the legal argument that this sort of thing should be handled by Congress. As such, he's called on Congress to address and fix this issue within the next six months, by DACA's expiration date of March 5th, 2018. If Congress is unable to pass a law on this by that date, the deportations would begin. And getting Congress to pass something on this is highly unlikely.
The fate of these Dreamers would fall under what is known as Comprehensive Immigration Reform, one of the many elusive legislative goals that's discussed every election cycle that feels increasingly unattainable with our country's divided politics. The prospects for legislative action around DACA are even more complicated since Republicans are in the majority in Congress, but the party is split on whether DACA should have been overturned. In fact, key Republicans like Speaker Of The House Paul Ryan and John McCain were lined up against Trump's action this morning. If they voted their conscience on new legislation, they would be voting against their president, and against the strident anti-immigration hawks in their own party, resulting in a law that would literally tear the GOP apart.
Supporters of DACA point to the fact that these children were not to blame in their immigration status, many of whom have now become model immigrants, contributing to the country's economic growth and becoming cultural Americans in every sense. Meanwhile President Trump is making good on his campaign promise to immediately rescind DACA, stating today: "I do not favor punishing children, most of whom are now adults, for the actions of their parents. But we must also recognize that we are nation of opportunity because we are a nation of laws." He added: "It is now time for Congress to act."
But will we hear from President Obama? DACA was one of his signature executive actions, and while Obama has effectively kept his promise not to interfere in Trump's presidency, before leaving office he did say at a press conference that the fate of the Dreamers was essentially the only area which would spur him to speak. And here we are. With DACA's days numbered, the stage is set for an Obama intervention.
In the meantime, protests are well under way in New York City and D.C., and are expected around the nation. Apple CEO Tim Cook Tweeted in support of the company's over 250 DACA status employees:
250 of my Apple coworkers are #Dreamers. I stand with them. They deserve our respect as equals and a solution rooted in American values.— Tim Cook (@tim_cook) September 3, 2017
A host of other socially conscious celebrities like Russell Simmons, Ava Duvernay, and Lin Manuel Miranda also voiced their support, below. When will we hear from Obama? We'll keep you posted.
"Adult illegal aliens." Just a disgusting display of prejudice, ignorance and heartlessness. But exactly what's expected of these cowards. https://t.co/zfYrS7uizb— Ava DuVernay (@ava) September 5, 2017