The White House officially announced the end of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), an immigration policy that has protected over 800,000 young undocumented immigrants since June 2012.
The program was founded under the Obama administration to protect undocumented immigrants brought to the US as children, allowing them to receive deferred action from deportation and eligibility for a work permit. While both parties support the goals of the program, many have opposed the use of executive action to institute it, considering the move a presidential overreach.
“I do not favor punishing children, most of whom are now adults, for the actions of their parents. But we must also recognize that we are a nation of opportunity because we are a nation of laws,” said President Donald Trump in a lengthy written statement released Tuesday morning.
As of Tuesday, The Department of Homeland Security will stop processing any new applications; however, all existing work permits under DACA will be honored and will remain active for up to 24 months. Since current permits won’t begin to expire for another six months, the announcement puts all the pressure on the legislative branch to come up with a replacement before March of next year.
With the ball in their court, Congress is already reacting to President Trump’s statement, drawing both praise and criticism from Democrats and Republicans alike.
Speaker Paul Ryan and Senator Lindsay Graham (R-SC) are in favor of the decision, describing it as an opportunity to protect Dreamers with appropriate legislation.
Meanwhile, Senator John McCain (R-AZ) has joined Democrats in opposing the move, calling it “an unacceptable reversal of the promises and opportunities that have been conferred to these individuals.”
Organizations like the ACLU and The Hispanic Chamber of Commerce have also denounced the administration’s decision, and protests are already underway in cities like Denver and New York.
By Alonso Montano