In September, President Donald Trump said he was ending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program but gave Congress six months to develop a legislative fix.
The program – created in 2012 by then-President Barack Obama – gave hundreds of thousands of people who came to the country illegally as children two-year, renewable permits to live and work. To qualify, they needed to have arrived before their 16th birthday, been under 31 in June 2012, completed high school or served in the military, and have clean criminal records.
Nearly 683,000 people were enrolled at the end of January, eight out of 10 from Mexico.
The program was scheduled to end on Monday, but a nationwide injunction set by U.S. District Judge William Alsup in January required the administration to resume renewals. However, that ruling does not apply to first-time applicants.
Loyola Marymount University student and a DACA recipient Maria Carolina Gomez joins a rally in support of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA program, outside the Edward Roybal Federal Building in Los Angeles
WHERE DO THE COURTS STAND ON DACA?
U.S. District Judge William Alsup ruled on January 9 that the administration failed to justify ending the program and that the plaintiffs – the states of California, Maine, Maryland and Minnesota as well as the University of California – had a good chance of winning at trial. His nationwide injunction required the administration to resume accepting renewal requests within a week.
U.S. District Judge Nicholas G. Garaufis in New York later issued a similar ruling.
On February 26, the U.S. Supreme Court denied the administration’s unusual request to intervene, which would have leapfrogged the appeals court.
The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals put its review of Alsup’s decision on fast track, but legal experts don’t expect a decision until June at the earliest. From there, it is expected to go to the Supreme Court, likely keeping DACA alive through November midterm elections.
WHAT HAPPENS IF DACA ENDS?
Courts have removed much of the urgency, but DACA recipients whose applications are pending are at risk until their petitions are granted.
Former Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly, now Trump’s chief of staff, last year scrapped the Obama administration’s policy of limiting deportations to people who pose a public safety threat, convicted criminals and those who have crossed the border recently, effectively making anyone in the country illegally vulnerable. Deportation arrests have surged more than 40 percent under Trump.
There were nearly 14,000 people with expired permits who applied for renewals but hadn’t received them at the end of January. There were also nearly 22,000 whose initial applications had yet to be decided.
Demonstrators hold up their fists as they are arrested outside of the U.S. Capitol during an immigration rally in support of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and Temporary Protected Status (TPS) programs, on Capitol Hill in Washington
WHERE DOES CONGRESS STAND ON DACA?
In January, the president proposed a path to citizenship for 1.8 million young immigrants as part of an immigration package that included $25 billion for a wall and other border enforcement measures and sharp cuts to legal immigration.
The Senate rejected it.
Immigrant advocates and their allies in Congress want a narrower bill that would protect DACA recipients, possibly combined with limited border enforcement measures, but the administration has balked. Trump has repeatedly blamed Democrats for the impasse, while Democrats say he created it by ending DACA.
Congress must pass a spending bill by March 23 to keep the government running, giving Democrats a chance to condition support on a DACA bill. Democrats forced a partial shutdown in January with that goal in mind but relented after three days.
(Source: Associated Press)