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The Trump Administration Is Removing Protections for 800,000 DREAMers

Now, it's up to Congress to figure out how to provide for those affected by the change.
September 5, 2017, 3:00pm
Photo by JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images

The Trump administration moved to officially eliminate DACA on Tuesday, announcing it would "wind down" the policy that allowed undocumented immigrants brought to the US as children to stay in the country and work legally.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions unveiled the decision at the Department of Justice Tuesday morning. He formally advised President Trump and the Department of Homeland Security to begin an "orderly, lawful wind-down" of DACA, which includes canceling former President Barack Obama's "unconstitutional" executive order that established the program.

"If we are to further our goal of strengthening the constitutional order and the rule of law in America, the Department of Justice cannot defend this overreach," Sessions said.

Sessions has tasked Congress with devising a solution for those affected by the change. Now that the policy is being shuttered, around 800,000 DREAMers, as beneficiaries of the program are known, will soon become vulnerable to deportation. Reportedly, they won't be allowed to reapply for DACA going forward, which means they will be gradually forced to leave the country or suffer the same consequences as other undocumented immigrants.

The choice to end DACA has been met with upset from both sides of the aisle. During an interview with a Wisconsin radio station last Friday, House Speaker Paul Ryan spoke out against Trump's expected decision, saying, "I believe this is something Congress has to fix."

The Trump administration's plan will likely offer a six-month window before taking effect, giving Congress time to enact a new protection for DACA immigrants. "Congress, get ready to do your job," Trump tweeted early Tuesday morning. "DACA!"

But Congress has been considering bills on this question since at least 2004, when the DREAM Act was being debated. Each one has failed after opposition from Republicans.

"If Trump decides to end DACA, it will be one of the ugliest and cruelest decisions ever made by a president in our modern history," Bernie Sanders said Sunday.