Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, was set in place by President Obama five years ago in response to the realities of enforcing immigration laws. It was another way to allow ICE to prioritize enforcement: the agency has limited funds and it is best dedicated to the removal of those that pose real, serious threats to public safety or national security. Because the current Administration has stepped back from a prioritized approach in favor of a free-for-all, the fate of DACA recipients is in jeopardy. Will this Obama era benefit be honored by President Trump, or has America given another “bad check?”
As of this moment, the President has honored DACA relief and not subjected recipients to deportation proceedings, with only a few exceptions. DHS has flatly stated it will continue to honor all DACA benefits, such as work permits. But the fate of the program is in immediate jeopardy. Former DHS Secretary (and current White House Chief of Staff) John Kelly stated that Congress must step in to solve this problem as the question properly lies with the legislative branch. Representatives Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) and Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA) proposed a bill in the House that will provide permanent residence for DACA recipients. Senators Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Dick Durbin (D-IL) have proposed a similar bill in the Senate. But, in the meantime, several states have threatened to sue President Trump if he keeps DACA in place, giving him a deadline of September 5. If sued, it is likely the case will be tied up in court for months.