Last week, a proposed executive order ending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program leaked to the press. President Trump said subsequently that he is still considering what he will do about DACA and indicated that he is unlikely to make a final decision on the subject before the last week of February 2017.
The leaked executive order draft is entitled “Ending Unconstitutional Executive Amnesties.” The purpose of the order is to end the DACA program because, per the memo, it “illegally” provides “illegal aliens with affirmative benefits such as lawful presence… [and] work authorization.”
The executive order draft directs the Secretary of Homeland Security to end the DACA program. However, it says that Employment Authorization Documents (EADs or “Work Permits”) held by DACA recipients will remain valid until the expiration date listed on the cards. Although the EADs will be valid for employment purposes, those holding them will no longer be able to use them to apply for permission to travel home for brief periods.
The proposed order would also rescind President Obama’s 2014 DACA+ expansion and the DAPA program for the parents of U.S. citizens. Those programs were delayed by an injunction in 2015 and were never implemented, so this action will not have any immediate practical impact.
If Trump moves ahead with repealing DACA, three-quarters of a million young immigrants, many of whom are college graduates, will lose their ability to work legally and earn a living. As their existing permits expire, they also may be arrested.
The outrage against Trump’s announced Muslim ban has led to some rethinking of further moves on immigration by the president. We have witnessed the largest spontaneous mobilization in favor of protecting immigrant rights in modern American history. A mass movement has arisen to try to halt the president’s illegal actions, and it has helped to slow the new administration’s march backward in restricting immigration. But the resistance to Trump’s policies is still in its earliest phase and it needs your support.
It is important for Latino communities to speak out forcefully in opposition to Trump’s attack on Muslims. Doing so will show him that restrictionist policies will only hurt his presidency. He is expected to move in stages with future anti-immigrant executive orders. Instead of putting them all out at once, he is likely to issue one at a time, on each occasion pausing to see the public reaction. The time to beat these draft executive orders is now. Once they are in place, they may last the full four years of his presidency. Standing up for Muslim immigrants now is really a defense of all immigrants. The size of the backlash against the executive orders may be the only thing that stops the proposed end of DACA from going into effect.
When you go to a rally against the Muslim Ban, you are not just standing up for Muslims, you are also fighting to block the executive orders that are still waiting in the President’s draw.