Trump administration rescinds DACA, looks to Congress for fix

On September 5, 2017, President Trump took action to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, an Obama-era policy that protected some young immigrants from deportation. President Trump gave Congress a six-month time limit to pass a legislative solution before DACA would formally end and expose its beneficiaries to deportation.

Immigrants eligible for DACA are called Dreamers after the Dream Act, a stalled piece of legislation for young undocumented immigrants who came to the United States when they were children, that would have enabled them to become lawful permanent residents. After Congress failed to pass the Dream Act multiple times, President Obama began the DACA program, allowing certain qualifying immigrants to get employment authorization, which in turn would permit them to get driver’s licenses, and enroll in college. In a statement announcing the end of DACA, President Trump said it was improper for former President Obama to bypass Congress in the program’s creation.

Advocates for immigrants decried the move to end DACA before a legislative solution is in place, and urged Congress to pass the Dream Act or similar legislation for current DACA recipients. However, the prospects for such a bill remain unclear in the current Congress which has other major legislative priorities, such as long promised tax reform. Immigration hard-liners say any legislative deal to protect Dreamers should include funding for a wall along the U.S. border with Mexico. Building such a physical barrier was a central promise of President Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign. The President has sent mixed signals as to whether funding for a wall must be a part of any Dream Act package.