The Trump administration announced Tuesday the end of the Obama-era program that grants work permits to undocumented immigrants who arrived in the U.S. as children, the Hill reports. The decision, fulfilling a core presidential campaign promise, will ignite a political firestorm.
Protesters of the announcement to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program gathered at Trump Tower in Manhattan on Tuesday, including one group of Dreamers who were quickly arrested after sitting down and holding hands in the middle of Fifth Avenue. One Dreamer told The Crime Report, “I was born in Ecuador. It’s rough, there’s a lot of uncertainty. I’m going to lose my job, a job I’ve been in since 2014.”
Seventh-grade teacher Haley Boyce of southern California said, “Most of my students are Mexican, these children are the future of America. Having them unsettled is going to affect the mental stability of our country and is not going to help at all. They are humans, they are not chess pieces. They are innocent victims. They didn’t choose to come here, they’re children. Does that make somebody a bad person?”
Trump has faced strong warnings from members of his own party not to scrap the program. The president has wrestled for months with whether to do away with DACA. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who argued that Congress rather than the executive branch is responsible for writing immigration law, helped persuade the president to terminate the program and send the issue to Congress.
Sessions said Tuesday that Obama had “deliberately sought to achieve what the legislative branch specifically refused to authorize on multiple occasions.” He added that, “If we are to further our goal of strengthening the constitutional order and the rule of law in America, the Department of Justice cannot defend this overreach.”
In a nod to reservations by many lawmakers, the White House will delay the enforcement of the decision to end DACA for six months, giving Congress a window to act. Trump tweeted Tuesday members of Congress should “get ready to do your job” on DACA. The decision on DACA is likely to shore up Trump’s base, which rallied behind his broader campaign message about the importance of enforcing immigration laws and securing the border.
The move is one of the most contentious of his administration, opposed by leaders of both parties and by the political establishment more broadly.
TCR intern Megan Hadley contributed to this report.