By Maegan Jones
On Tuesday, September 5th, President Donald Trump ordered an end to the Obama administration’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA). With President Trump’s decision, over 800,000 undocumented minors may lose their protection. In addition, no more individuals may apply for the program. These young people (also known as Dreamers) were able to openly express their immigration status in order to obtain driver’s licenses, enroll in school and later pay income taxes if they met certain qualifications. The program did not automatically give the youth rights to become citizens or permanent legal residents; however, many in the program were able to defer deportation and legally reside in the US for up to two years. In addition, DACA also separated the youth away from felons and others who were convicted of crimes.
During his campaign trail, President Trump promised to dismantle DACA; however, as the seasons came and went, Trump decided to lightly approach the subject during press conferences. “DACA is a very, very difficult subject for me, I will tell you. To me, it’s one of the most difficult subjects I have because you have these incredible kids,” Trump said. “We’re gonna deal with DACA with heart.”
President Trump even went on to say he “loved” the Dreamers and wanted to show them compassion. Nevertheless, he stated that his administration needed to focus on the struggling Americans. “We will resolve the DACA issue with heart and compassion — but through the lawful Democratic process — while at the same time ensuring that any immigration reform we adopt provides enduring benefits for the American citizens we were elected to serve,” Trump said. Basically Dreamers mattered, but putting an effort to show them compassion interfered with plans to help the American people.
President Trump said he wanted legislation in order to protect the young immigrants of America. However, there are no plans or proposed bills ready, just repeals. As of now, there are several bills in Congress that are spearheaded by both Republicans and Democrats. With that said, Trump’s repeal of DACA is coming off as more of a threat than a help to Dreamers.
Many notable people criticized Trump for ordering the end of DACA. “The young people covered by DACA are our friends and neighbors. They contribute to our communities and to the economy. I’ve gotten to know some Dreamers over the past few years, and I’ve always been impressed by their strength and sense of purpose. They don’t deserve to live in fear,” Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook wrote. “It’s time for Congress to act to pass the bipartisan Dream Act or another legislative solution that gives Dreamers a pathway to citizenship.”
Former President Obama criticized Trump’s plan to end DACA. “Some 800,000 young people stepped forward, met rigorous requirements, and went through background checks. And America grew stronger as a result. But today, that shadow has been cast over some of our best and brightest young people once again. To target these young people is wrong – because they have done nothing wrong. It is self-defeating – because they want to start new businesses, staff our labs, serve in our military, and otherwise contribute to the country we love. And it is cruel,” Obama wrote on Facebook.
By March 2018, Congress has to act on Trump’s order to end DACA. As of now, there are several individuals who are giving mixed messages about the decision. Nevertheless, if Congress does not act promptly on this decision; Trump will act for them.