The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program has been in jeopardy since President Trump announced on September 5, 2017, that he was terminating the program. Mr. Trump stated that he was giving Congress a six-month period to make DACA a legal protection before he starts to phase it out. DACA has protected nearly 800,000 undocumented young immigrants since President Obama first ordered the program in 2012. On October 8, 2017, Mr. Trump announced a list of demands that must be enacted before extending protection to those young immigrants who are currently protected under the DACA program.
Some of Mr. Trump’s demands include:
Overhauling the green-card system
Restrictions on unaccompanied minors entering the United States
Building a wall along the southern border
A crackdown on “sanctuary cities”
Hiring 10,000 immigration agents
Tougher laws for those seeking asylum
Democrats have consistently shown their support for the DACA program and have stated explicitly that many of these demands are off the table. Republicans are also facing pressures from this demand list, as there is a divide within the Republican party on how to handle the DACA program. Both House and Senate leaders from both parties have said that they want to find a solution to extend the DACA protections to young immigrants.
Mr. Trump had previously seemed eager to support legislation extending DACA stating, “I have love for these people and hopefully now Congress will be able to help them and do it properly.” Days after he had announced the termination of DACA, he seemed to have reached an agreement with the House Senate’s top Democrats, Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer. Here it had appeared that Mr. Trump agreed to extend the DACA protections in exchange for support for enhanced border security measures from the Democrats. Mr. Trump’s eagerness to help the dreamers has seemed to diminish, as he has demanded restrictions on immigration.
Both Senators Pelosi and Schumer have made statements saying that Mr. Trump is very serious about his list of demands and, that without meeting the demands or a promise to meet the demands in the future, he will not resurrect the DACA program. Mr. Trump has been known to repeatedly state that the funding for the items on his list of demands, such as his border wall, could come later in separate legislations but must be addressed before any decisions on the DACA program can be made.
The president’s top policy adviser, Stephen Miller, and Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, are both advocates of immigration restrictions. They believe that Mr. Trump’s list of demands are not overreaching and must be enacted in order to reduce the amount of illegal immigration in the United States. Mr. Trump has released a statement saying, “Without these reforms, illegal immigration and chain migration, which severely and unfairly burden American workers and taxpayers, will continue without end.”
With DACA policies threatened, it is now more important than ever for undocumented immigrants to know their legal rights. If you are concerned about the legal repercussions that may happen to you or a loved one who is now protected under DACA, contact the experienced New York immigration lawyers at Bretz & Coven, LLP. We have two offices located in New York, New York and Metro Park, New Jersey. For more information or to schedule a consultation, call (212) 267-2555 or fill out our contact form.