Nightmares, not dreams, is his motto
by Hannah Whitney
Staff Lady Liberty
On September 5, Trump’s administration announced the official end of DACA, a program that has helped 800,000 undocumented immigrants brought to the United States as children. The Department of Homeland Security will stop processing any new applications, completely rescinding DACA. Now, though many sources report progress, President Trump assures that he and Democratic leaders had reached “no deal” on the matter of protecting these immigrants.
The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) officially began on August 15, 2012 when former President Obama created a policy to defer any action made for undocumented children, called DREAMers, brought to the United States. Though members of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program could apply for employment and were protected under United States law, the law provided no guarantee of permanence or citizenship and could be revoked at any time.
Trump was hesitant at first to make the announcement to end Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. White House Press Secretary said it was a difficult decision for Trump, so much so that he decided not to announce it himself. Instead, he delegated the responsibility to Attorney General Jeff Sessions; who had avidly opposed the Deferred Action for Child Arrivals program. During the Press Conference, Sessions argued that illegal immigrants, including dreamers, are law breakers who hurt native-born Americans by taking jobs and working for low wages. Trump further states that his decision was because he is worried about “the millions of Americans victimized by this unfair system.
Trump faces somewhat of a dilemma, for his entire campaign had been built around cracking down on illegal immigration. He had consistently promised to build a wall in addition to kicking out all undocumented immigrants. However, Trump had previously been willing to make exceptions for the dreamers who have been brought to the United States as children with no choice of there own.
Not surprisingly, right and left parties had much to say about the announcement and a prospective DACA deal. Democrats in Congress were uniformly against the decision while Republican responses were more across the board. Democratic and Republican Senators are discussing a possible DREAM Act which will give legal status to immigrants who attend college or join the military. Defending the DREAM Act, Democratic Senator Dick Durbin states “The reality of the situation is that these children basically have no place to go other than America. If there was ever a win-win in modern time, it would be the DREAM Act.” Democratic officials agree that the decision to end DACA will complicate families and possibly ruin the lives of illegal immigrants who call America home.
Republican leaders and supporters have a less unified opinion of the announcement than Democrats. Senate John McCain and Jeff Flake are among the many that strongly oppose Trump’s announcement. They argue that it was the wrong decision for Trump to make such a drastic decision without working together with other party members to come up with a peaceful and effective solution for reforming the immigration system. House Speaker Paul Ryan opposed Obama’s original program, but is also uneasy with Trump’s decision, hoping that Congress finds a permanent solution quickly.
Soon after the announcement to end Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, protests broke out at the White House and the Justice Department. Many consider it a “cold hearted” and “shortsighted” move that could possibly hurt the economy. On Saturday, thousands protested the decision on Columbus Circle. The crowd then moved towards Central Park, where they paused by Strawberry Fields. At least 3,000 protesters gathered across the street of Trump Tower with signs that read “Keep the dreamers, deport the racists” and “Legalize liberty”. One DREAMer, Natalia Rodriguez, said on life before DACA that “I would be terrified that I would be deported.”
Obama wrote on Facebook “Whatever concerns or complaint Americans may have about immigration in general, we shouldn’t threaten the future of this group of young people who are here through no fault of their own, who pose no threat, who are not taking away anything from the rest of us.”
Recently, government officials, including House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer, met at the White House to discuss possible next steps and compromises. After much contention, they reached an agreement, supported only tentatively by Trump. According to the compromise, the young dreamers would be allowed to stay in the country if democrats provided a border security package, not including the infamous Trump Wall. However, just hours later, his tweets contradict there being any deal whatsoever. Even Trump administration and supporters are wondering where he stands on the issue.