“PRESERVE, PROTECT AND DEFEND”
by Sharon Rondeau
On Thursday, Fox News reported, citing a “senior administration official,” that Trump has reached a decision to “end” the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) initiative. However, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said that the program remains under review.
Discussions on the matter were held last Friday between acting DHS Secretary Elaine Duke and U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, according to NBC News.
In June 2012, Barack Hussein Obama declared, by “executive action,” that he was creating DACA to provide a reprieve from potential impending deportation to individuals 31 years of age or younger who were brought to the United States illegally by their parents before they were 16 and prior to 2007. Applicants to the program could not be convicted felons and must have shown plans to attend school, enter the military, or be employed long-term. Deferment was provided in two-year increments for approved applicants, who were required to reapply every two years.
The program was officially implemented on August 15, 2012. According to multiple sources, approximately 800,000 individuals are now enrolled.
On March 10, the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS), which advocates for lower immigration levels and strict enforcement of federal immigration law, reported:
DACA applies to individuals up to age 31 (as of June 2012, so 35 now) — hardly children; consequently, many Dreamers have long-since terminated their studies and most have committed multiple felonies in order to get jobs — Social Security fraud, forgery, perjury on I-9 forms, falsification of green cards and drivers’ licenses, identity theft, etc. Dreamers continue to commit these job-related crimes right up to the day their DACA status is approved and they obtain work permits and their own genuine Social Security numbers.
In addition, many illegal aliens qualifying for DACA status have previously been arrested and convicted of multiple misdemeanors and some have previously been or continue to be associated with violent gangs, as evidenced by a report in the Seattle Times that states that over 1,500 Dreamers have had their DACA status revoked since 2012 due to their involvement with criminal gangs.
That same month, CNN reported that 70 DACA participants were enrolled in medical school.
During the 2016 presidential campaign, Trump emphatically pledged to do away with DACA on his first day in office, with some in the media emphasizing earlier this year that Trump appeared to have broken his promise.
Many have argued that DACA is unconstitutional, including at least one federal judge. A companion program, DAPA, which Obama announced in an immigration-themed speech on November 20, 2014 did not withstand judicial scrutiny, including at the U.S. Supreme Court.
In June, current White House Chief of Staff and former DHS Secretary John F. Kelly indicated that DHS would likely not take steps to mount a legal defense of DACA in court.
Since Trump’s inauguration, his position on the program became more understated, with a promise that his “big heart” would help to determine his ultimate decision. That claim was repeated by Vice President Mike Pence on Thursday while spending time in storm-ravaged parts of Texas.
The Trump administration has taken an aggressive position against criminal illegals, particularly those belonging to gangs such as MS-13, who have terrorized neighborhoods, committed heinous crimes, and in some cases, reentered the United States multiple times after deportation.
Many of Trump’s critics on the subject of immigration, which include the mainstream media, believe that recent deportations involving a parent without a violent criminal conviction are unwarranted. “Non-violent undocumented immigrants who were left alone by then-President Obama are now being rounded up by the Trump administration,” USA Today wrote in March.
In late June, nine state attorneys general filed suit against the Justice Department over DACA, providing a deadline of September 5 by which the administration make a decision as to whether or not to continue it. There are now ten states represented as plaintiffs in the lawsuit.
On Thursday, CNN reported that the Trump administration was considering requesting an extension of the deadline set by the attorneys general.
Some have conflated DACA with “the DREAM Act,” connecting Obama’s program to the failed legislation of 2013 which passed the U.S. Senate but was not brought to the floor of the House by then-Speaker John Boehner.
Many Trump supporters do not believe he has done enough to stop the flow of illegal aliens into the country and are still awaiting the beginning of construction for “the wall” which Trump promised from the campaign trail would be constructed on the US-Mexico border and paid for by Mexico.
On Thursday, McClatchy News reported that a “conservative” piece of legislation being compared to the DREAM Act has been crafted by North Carolina Sen. Thom Tillis which reportedly would, speaking of Trump, “both fulfill a campaign promise to end an Obama-era program known as DACA while yielding to what appears to be his personal desire to let these immigrants remain in the country.”
The Framers of the U.S. Constitution designated the Congress, which is the federal legislative branch of government, as the arbiters of federal immigration law, whereas the executive branch is sworn to “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”