Attorney General Jeff Sessions said at a press briefing today that DACA is being terminated with a wind-down period for Congress to act on legislating protection for those with DACA. In a hard-line speech, Sessions blamed the DACA recipients for the loss of hundreds of thousands of jobs by United States citizens and described the program as an incentive for undocumented immigration. While many reports say that the wind-down period will last for six months, in fact Sessions gave no definite timeline during the briefing.
According to CNN, no new DACA applications will be accepted, but renewals may continue. Those initial DACA applications received by the close of business today will reportedly be processed, but those received after today will not.
Sessions’s announcement came after a long weekend of mixed signals from the Trump Administration and calls from all quarters for the president to preserve the program. At one point, it appeared that Trump would simply end DACA on Friday afternoon as Americans’ attention shifted to the Labor Day Weekend. Late on Friday, word came that the decision would be announced today instead. For days, the 800,000 immigrants with DACA have been on edge awaiting news of their fate.
On September 1, 2017, House Speaker Paul Ryan appealed to Trump to delay ending DACA. Ryan said that Trump should wait for Congress to address the legal status of DREAMers before ending the DACA program. In a Wisconsin radio interview Ryan said that those with DACA “are people who are in limbo. These are kids who know no other country, who were brought here by their parents and don’t know another home. And so I really do believe…that there needs to be a legislative solution.” Utah Senator Orin Hatch said that he and other Republican senators had asked Trump not to end DACA.
Trump’s passing of the buck to Congress is a juvenile exercise in the avoidance of responsibility. So far, the president has made no effort to press legislation that would resolve the legal status of those with DACA. He is fully aware that both the House and Senate have become disfunctional partisan battlegrounds where almost nothing gets done. The only immigration bill he is supporting is one to end the Family-Based immigration system.
While polling shows widespread support for DACA, and business leaders, educators, and state and local officials had asked that it be preserved, ultimately Trump did the bidding of his Alt-Right base, albeit with a delay in actual implementation built in. Ending DACA was as much a rallying cry for Trump rallies as “Build the Wall.” Among the white supremacist elements of Trump’s electorate, educated immigrants are even more of a target than the undocumented. Their success challenges the narrative that immigrants are incompatible with American success.
Long Islanders concerned with the future for those who are losing DACA should call their representatives and demand that they support the BRIDGE Act which would give these young people a pathway to permanent legal status. Trump, in a Tweet this morning saying “Congress, get ready to do your job – DACA”, virtually begged Republicans in Congress to act before the six-month deadline. Call the US Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121. Peter King, and Lee Zeldin, who both endorsed Trump’s candidacy, should be particular targets of calls.
CARECEN will offer free workshops for those with DACA who want to know what they can do next. The workshops will be offered on Thursday September 7 at 4:30 PM and Friday September 8 at 5:00 PM. The meetings will be held at both CARECEN offices, 2000 Brentwood Rd Second Floor in Brentwood and 91 N. Franklin St. Suite 208 in Hempstead.