In Search of a Fix for “Dreamers”

On Friday, President Donald Trump tweeted:

“Cannot believe how BADLY DACA recipients have been treated by the Democrats…totally abandoned! Republicans are still working hard.”

His tweet came the morning after the Senate failed to pass any of the 3 bills proposed to replace DACA.

The President’s tweet, however, is in direct contradiction to his actions. Last September  Trump announced that he would be ending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program on March 5th, 2018, essentially creating a deadline for Congress to come up with a replacement for DACA recipients otherwise known as “Dreamers”.

Since Trump’s move, many have been concerned with what will happen to the over 800,000 young adults currently living the United States who are protected under DACA. Created under the Obama Administration in 2012, DACA allows children previously brought into the U.S. by illegal immigrant parents to stay in the country, get work permits, obtain driver’s licenses, and pursue higher education. The removal of the program would prevent anyone in the future from receiving these benefits, and it would prevent current permits from being renewed. Many of the current “Dreamers” have known no home other than the U.S.

Trump’s deadline announcement pleased many Republicans, who were happy at any move toward  tougher immigration policies. But it outraged many Democrats. Thus began a series of negotiations to decide the fate of young immigrants.

While attempting to negotiate a federal budget last month, Democrats stood their ground, saying they would not agree to any budget unless DACA recipients were protected. On the other side, Republicans were reportedly refusing to accept a new DACA-esque plan without Democrats agreeing to further border security measures such as a funding to build “The Wall.”

Thus, as the deadline approaches, the future for Dreamers is still uncertain. And despite the partisan blame game that has Democrats and Republicans blaming each other, there is widespread agreement that the crisis is of the President’s making.  

For clarification on the journey of DACA thus far, we’ve created a helpful timeline:

June 2012: Obama Administration creates the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy. The program is to be a temporary solution while Congress attempts to approve the DREAM act — more permanent immigration legislation in the works since 2011. Obama emphasizes that DACA “is not a path to citizenship. It’s not a permanent fix.”

Election 2016: During his campaign, Trump claims he will end DACA when in office, calling the program illegal and unconstitutional.

September 5, 2017: Trump Administration announces they will rescind DACA, giving Congress the March 5th, 2018 deadline to come up with a new solution for children of illegal immigrants. Beginning the same day as the announcement, they say that no new DACA recipients would be accepted.

January 9, 2018: Trump meets with lawmakers to discuss a DACA replacement. The same day, a federal judge announces that all original DACA terms and conditions must remain in effect until a new solution is enacted (i.e. the government must accept new applicants).

January 16, 2018: The Justice Department says they will ask the Supreme Court to review the federal judge’s order.

January 20, 2018: Democrats demand a DACA replacement plan before they will sign a bill that would keep the government open. The government shuts down briefly.

January 22, 2018: The government reopens. Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer says that Congress must reach a plan by February 8th.

February 14, 2018: Trump says he will veto any Dreamer-related bill that does not add restrictions to current immigration policies and increase border security.

February 15, 2018: The Senate votes on 3 proposed Dreamer-related bills. All of them fail.

Zoe Licata   (Cambridge, Massachusetts)


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