On Tuesday, September 5th, the Trump administration formally announced that it would soon cancel the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. This immigration program, commonly referred to as DACA. Before continuing, DACA was a primary immigration policy initiated by the administration of President Obama in the early months of his second term in 2012. The purpose of DACA is to provide working opportunities to children of undocumented immigrants who were raised in the United States and never granted citizenship, often referred to as ‘dreamers’. In addition to providing dreamers with legal working opportunities, DACA also allows them to receive driver’s licenses and enroll in American colleges. Since the start of the program, according to data collected from government organizations such as the Department of Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), 787,580 immigrants have been admitted into DACA. At the time, DACA was intended to act as an insurance policy for children of undocumented immigrants who had not entered the United States on their own accords. Immediately following the program’s beginning as a result of President Obama’s use of executive action, it was met with praise from the political left and heavy criticism from those of the right, who accused the president of abusing his power.
Now, five years later, the program is being terminated by President Trump, who promised to do away with DACA as well as many other current immigration laws as when he during his campaign for the campaigned for presidency leading up to the election in November of 2016. Following the Trump administration’s announcement of DACA’s repeal, it also decreed that Congress would be given six months to create an improved immigration program in DACA’s place. In the meantime, the administration has taken measures to ensure that those currently enrolled in DACA are not being placed at risk of deportation or loss of the benefits they are already receiving through DACA, however it also announced that it would no longer be accepting applications for the program. As with many of the administration’s recent actions, this was met with a slew of protests and praises; many conservative politicians have been satisfied by the removal of DACA, which they have frequently labeled as a form of illegal amnesty. Immigration rights activists, meanwhile, are outraged. Across the entire nation, massive crowds are congregating to protest the repeal. One notable crowd of protesters that stood outside of the Trump International Hotel and marched through Central Park West in New York City consisted of approximately 3,000 immigrants and immigration rights activists demanding “permanent protection, dignity, and respect” for the millions of undocumented immigrants currently within America. In Los Angeles, hundreds of people of the similar cloth rallied in MacArthur Park on Sunday, September 9th, chanting slogans such as, “No hate, no fear, immigrants are welcome here” and, “No Trump, no KKK, no racist USA”.
Though the majority of the American public has displayed overwhelming support of the rights of undocumented immigrants and DACA (roughly 66%, according to a recent poll conducted by NBC), the fates of nearly 800,000 dreamers will be determined by the replacement bill created by Congress within the next six months. Many believe that this revoking of DACA is the beginning of a long line of repeals of many other previously passed immigration policies. One of the most significant actions President Trump emphasized throughout his controversial Presidential campaign in 2016 was major reforms to our country’s current immigration policies. Furthermore, based on the President’s other recent actions, as has been pointed out by many politicians, President Trump appears to have prioritized undoing all of President Obama’s legal changes as his first order of business, as much of the past nine months in Washington have been spent doing exactly that.