President Trump had his own special way of celebrating the Labor Day holiday weekend. Multiple reports indicated the president decided to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, commonly known as DACA. It was made official in a briefing fronted by Attorney General Jeff Sessions this morning. The program was put in place by the Obama administration and grants work permits to undocumented immigrants who arrived in the United States as children. It has protected close to 800,000 young unauthorized immigrants from deportation.
DACA was a continuation of the stalled DREAM Act passed during the George W. Bush administration in 2001. "DREAMers" are the children of parents who crossed illegally into the US. The difficulty lies in the fact that DREAMers had no control over when or how they entered the country since they arrived when they were children, and they're living in a country where they could never become legal residents or citizens. A recent study pegged the average age of DACA recipients at six and a half years old.
According to the report first published by Politico and confirmed today by the attorney general, actual enforcement of the decision will be delayed six months to allow Congress to supposedly find a replacement.
What You Can DoIf you think DACA should stay there are a few actions you can take right now:
- Check out the National Immigration Law Center for #DefendDACA Events and direct actions.
- Support Cosecha, a network of organizers supporting direct actions across the country to fight back against ending DACA.
- Join the petition of the League of United Latin American Citizens to tell Congress and the Trump administration to #DefendDACA.
- Now that the fate of DACA rests with Congress, call your federal delegation and share your opinion one way or the other (every American is represented by one member of Congress, two US Senators).
And Then Some
Since 2012, about 800,000 such DACA renewals have been issued, and about 1.1 million unauthorized immigrants are eligible for the benefits.
Senators Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Dick Durbin (D-IL) introduced a new bipartisan DREAM Act in July granting legal status and a path to citizenship to undocumented immigrants who were brought to the country as children (DREAMers). Other GOP congressional leaders have urged Trump not to rescind DACA:
And it has much more to do than protecting kids from being deported. Preeminent environmentalist Bill McKibben had this to say shortly after news broke:
Tweet @VICEImpact to let us know what you think about President Trump's decision to rescind the Obama-era DACA protections.