DACA, or “Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals” is an administrative immigration relief policy that was implemented by President Barack Obama in June of 2012. As of 2017, more than 800,000 individuals were enrolled in the program, but has since then, been revoked by Donald Trump in September of 2017. DACA is a controversial topic for some Americans and many question whether it is constitutional or not, the current status of the policy and any state actions being made. The purpose of DACA is to “protect (eligible) immigrant youth from deportation who came to the U.S.
when they were children.” DACA also gives young undocumented immigrants a work permit and the program expires after two years, but can be renewed. DACA allows children brought into the United States illegally the temporary right to live, get an education and work in America. DACA is a program that people apply for so it is not just handed to people who are here illegally. In order for someone to qualify for the protection services provided by DACA, they must meet the requirements. The person must have come to America before they were 16 years of age or still be under the age of 31 by June of 2012.
Also, the applicant could not have any felonies, or misdemeanors. The applicant had to have earned a High School diploma or GED, or was currently enrolled. The DACA requirements are targeted for the youth of immigrants and was a policy, not a law. In the past, the United States government has defended DACA continuously and has been successful each time. “Every legal challenge to the DACA program has failed.” The constitutionality of the policy has been up for debate by the Trump administration, and supporters. According to New York Attorney General, Eric Schneiderman, “No court has held it unconstitutional.” It has been argued that DACA being created through the executive branch, instead of through a legislative process is an outreach of executive power, but DACA is a policy, not a law.
It does not grant legal immigration, it just protects young immigrants who were brought here. An agreement made regarding whether DACA is constitutional or not is that a court ruling over the constitutionality of the program has not been issued. Associate professor of law at Drexel University, Anil Kalhan said, “There has been no court decision holding that DACA itself is unconstitutional.” As for state action regarding the DACA program, “26 states won a lawsuit against the Obama Administration by blocking the implementation of an expanded version of DACA in 2016.” More recently, 15 states have filed a lawsuit against Trump’s decision to end DACA. The lawsuit is made on claims that the DACA “dreamers” are being targeted because of their origin.
By targeting a specific group of people, such as Mexican immigrants based on their national origin would violate the Constitution’s equal protection clause. Yet some states are still pushing the issue. In late June, 10 states wrote a letter demanding that the Trump administration agree to end the program. If the administration refuses terminate DACA by September 5, the states are prepared to to issues a “legal challenge.” At a campaign event in 2016, Trump stated, “We will immediately terminate President Obama’s two illegal executive amnesties, in which he defied federal law and the constitution to give amnesty to approximately 5 million illegal immigrants.” Currently, DACA is to be ended by Donald Trump in March of 2018. However, applicants could still renew their DACA status in October 2017. The hopes and dreams of more than 800,000 young people brought to the U.
S. as children are on the line. There are risks that go beyond getting deported such as losing the opportunities in the United States and the assurance that they are wanted in the country that they grew up in. The announcement of ending the DACA program is the front end of six months of anxiety, and these innocent people living with extreme uncertainty of either not being accepted where they live, or them getting another shot at a successful future.
This cruel and shameful attack on America’s young immigrants seeks to fuel Trump’s anti-immigrant and racist agenda. To abandon DACA, it would be a political decision rather than a legal decision. Donald Trump refers to ending this program as a legal situation that is somewhat against the law when in reality he simply does not agree with what the program offers for people.
The DACA program has caused a lot of controversy on why illegal immigrants deserve the right to be successful. Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival has been and will always be constitutional. Trump ending the program will change thousands of people’s lives forever because some will be sent back to countries they may have never stepped foot in. DACA is a great tool for immigrants in America and should remain in place.