Trump’s Evolving DACA Stance

Donald Trump and Nancy Pelosi at the Presidential Inauguration on January 20, 2017. (Public domain DoD photo by U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Marianique Santos)

Since 2001, Congress has repeatedly attempted to solve the undocumented immigration problem through the Development, Relief, and Education for Minors Act, or DREAM Act, without much success.

In 2010, the DREAM Act was able to pass through the House of Representatives but failed due to a filibuster in the Senate, prompting President Barack Obama to issue an executive order to create the DACA program.

DACA stands for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, and is essentially a program that protects “low priority” immigrants that are not a perceived threat from being deported.

Since it was enacted in June 2012, DACA has protected nearly 800,000 undocumented immigrants that arrived in the US as children through a deferred action program.

In order to be eligible for DACA, immigrants must have arrived in the United States prior to the age of 16 and before 2007, must be at least 15 and younger than 31 in 2012, have practically no criminal record, and have a high school degree or the equivalent.

In early September, President Trump announced that he would work to phase out the DACA program over the next six months. This announcement infuriated Democrats, for the removal of DACA would dramatically affect the lives of hundreds of thousands of young immigrants.

President Trump justified this decision on the basis that “millions of Americans are victimized by this unfair system” in which illegal immigrants are taking American jobs. As a candidate, Trump vowed to terminate DACA, citing it as “one of the most unconstitutional actions ever undertaken by a president.”

The announcement prompted a flurry of protests which ranged from directly infront of the White House to cities all over the nation, with leaders condemning this move as unfair and cruel.

Former President Barack Obama wrote on Facebook, “Whatever concerns or complaints Americans may have about immigration in general, 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 away anything from the rest of us.”

The widespread negative reaction to this announcement appeared to lead President Trump to having second thoughts, as he expressed in a late night tweet saying, “Congress now has 6 months to legalize DACA (something the Obama Administration was unable to do). If they can’t, I will revisit this issue!”

From his outright denunciation of the DACA program to his order to have it legalized, many are left feeling perplexed on what President Trump actually wants in regards to the program.

On September 13, Democratic leaders Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer announced that they have struck a deal with Trump concerning the DACA program that would extend protections for young undocumented immigrants and include a border security deal that does not incorporate a wall.

The next morning, however, President Trump made a statement declaring that no such deal had been made, further confusing the issue.

In Florida, President Trump made a statement that may clear up this very muddled issue: “We’re not looking at citizenship. We’re not looking at amnesty. We’re looking at allowing people to stay here. We’re working with everybody. Republicans. We’re working with Democrats. I just spoke to Paul Ryan, he is on board, everybody is onboard. We’re not talking about amnesty. We’re talking about taking care of people, people who were brought here, people who have done a good job, and were not brought here of their own volition.”

Comments are closed.