The decision could put some 800,000 young people in legal limbo.
According to a new report from Fox News, President Trump is poised to announce what would perhaps be his administration’s harshest anti-immigrant policy yet: The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA, could be scuttled as soon as tomorrow morning. In her briefing today, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders strenuously denied that any decision on the program’s future had been finalized, but the president’s cable news network of choice seems pretty darn confident in their scoop:
It might be confusing for you, a normal person, to fathom how the administration could determine that children and young adults who entered the United States before their sixteenth birthday—and who don’t have a criminal record, and who are currently in high school or recently graduated from high school or served honorably in the United States military—are the undocumented immigrants it wants to expel from the country at the earliest opportunity. As recently as April, the president was earnestly proclaiming in interviews that DACA permit holders could “rest easy,” since his White House would be focusing its deportation efforts on dangerous criminals, not children.
But then again, perhaps this development shouldn’t come as a great surprise to anyone who recalls Donald Trump triumphantly kicking off his campaign by referring to undocumented immigrants as “rapists” and “criminals.” As you may have noticed, the president has struggled of late in just about every demographic that doesn’t prominently involve white supremacists, actual neo-Nazis, or some other loose confederation of far-right groups. Particularly in the wake of the departure of Steve Bannon, the immigration hard-liner on whose back Trump won the 2016 election, it’s difficult not to see this announcement as a naked, calculated appeal to his base, the members of which could use some assurances that a Bannon-free White House will be as cheerfully xenophobic as ever. From McClatchy:
“He’s been advised that it’s in his political interest for him to be
the one to make the decision to terminate the program because he’ll
get the credit,” said a source who is familiar with the conversations
inside the White House. “And if it’s going to end anyway, why not take
the credit for it?”
There are some eight hundred thousand young people legally living and working in the United States under the DACA program, and if the Trump administration follows through, those individuals would not be allowed to remain in the country after their permits, which last up to two years, eventually expire. In news that will shock you, it does not seem that Paul Ryan and company have any earthly idea what those people will do next.
That window could give Republican lawmakers on Capitol Hill who are
sympathetic to these young, undocumented immigrants some time to come
up with a plan before most of the recipients lose their status, said a
congressional source familiar with the GOP strategy.
Barring one of Donald Trump’s signature baffling, last-minute changes of heart, it appears that DACA is on its way out—not because of any carefully-considered policy rationale, mind you, but because the president sure could use a cheap boost in the polls right now, and for him, doubling down on his utter disdain for people of color remains the quickest and most dependable way to get it.
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