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The DACA Debate: What Happens Next?

The DACA Debate: What Happens Next?

President Trump recently announced he would be ending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, an Obama-era immigration policy put into place in 2012 to protect illegal immigrants who were brought into the US as minors.  

DACA allows these individuals, nicknamed “dreamers,” to apply for renewable 2-year work permits that postpone deportation. Nearly 850,000 people have applied. 

The argument here is that these individuals did not come to the US under their own volition. They grew up in America and have little knowledge of their birth country. 

The counterargument is that giving all these people legal status would encourage even more people to come into the country illegally.  

As reported Sunday by Politico, Trump is considering a 6-month delay that would give Congress time to develop a plan to help the thousands of dreamers who would be affected by the termination of DACA.

Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have called on Trump not to end the program. 

Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) believes that scrapping DACA “would further complicate a system in serious need of a permanent, legislative solution.” 

House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) has urged Trump to leave DACA alone, saying it is “something Congress has to fix.”

Attorney General Session announced that the program has ended, but Congress still has the opportunity to act.

“I have always believed DACA was a presidential overreach,” says South Carolina Rep. Lindsey Graham (R). “However, I equally understand the plight of the Dream Kids who – for all practical purposes – know no country other than America.”

Graham has teamed up with Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) to introduce legislation that would provide a legal path to citizenship for DACA recipients.   

“It is right for there to be consequences for those who intentionally entered this country illegally,” argues Senator James Lankford (R-OK). “However, we as Americans do not hold children legally accountable for the actions of their parents.” 

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) hopes to pass legislation that would protect DACA immigrants and establish border security provisions, but such a move could turn away Democratic support.

Others believe there is a slim chance Republicans could earn Democratic support for the border wall if they agree to protect DACA immigrants. 

“Dear Republicans, your moment has come,” tweeted Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT). “Show the courage and grace to save these children, and our nation.” 

The DACA debate is the latest battle pitting moderates in the White House and Congress against Trump’s conservative advisers, but it is the first to take place without former White House strategist Steve Bannon. 

Bannon, who has resumed his position at the helm of Breitbart News, will be free to “engage in open combat with fellow Republicans from the outside,” reports Politico. 

This is a complicated issue, and it is unclear what would happen if Congress fails to solve the problem in the allocated 6 months. 

Trump promised to end DACA while on the campaign trail but has faced serious pressure not to do so from the moment he entered the Oval Office. 

In a meeting that took place shortly after the election, Obama warned Trump he would pay a heavy political price if he deported the dreamers. That message seemed to resonate with Trump, and many believe he won’t end the program if Congress fails to come up with a solution.   

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