Leave it President Donald Trump to put something out there just to make people nervous.
We’re used to it by now, having dealt with seven months of reality-television-style “stay tuned” Twitter posts, like the one that left the Pentagon on edge last month when Trump announced a reinstatement of a ban on transgender military service members.
Since taking office, one constant fear is Trump’s threats to lift protections against deportation for men and women brought to the United States illegally as children, a program known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA.
According to White House officials, Homeland Security secretary Elaine Duke and Attorney General Jeff Sessions discussed DACA with senior officials Thursday.
Sessions has always opposed the program former president Barack Obama instituted in 2012 to shield approximately one million immigrants who have lived, worked, and gone to school in the United States from being shipped back to countries they fled as children.
DACA permits people who arrived in the U.S. before 2007 to stay in the country if their parents brought them here before they were 16, and they have remained here ever since without committing serious crimes. Some came here legally with their parents but overstayed visas.
Eligible residents are required to renew their DACA status every two years.
Officials report it is not yet clear whether Trump will allow DACA to expire or summarily end it.
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters Friday DACA “continues to be under review.”
Vanita Gupta, director of the Leadership Conference on Human Rights, former Justice Department’s civil rights division head under President Obama, said:
“Killing the DACA program as the Trump administration’s first post-Charlottesville move would be absolutely shameful. We must not allow the hate violence that we saw on the streets of Charlottesville to become the guiding force for policy making.”
Back when Trump was still the President-elect, Obama urged him to think “long and hard” before ending DACA. Obama warned he would speak out against any attempt to end the program, which he would interpret as an assault on American values.
“The notion that we would just arbitrarily or because of politics punish those kids, when they didn’t do something themselves…would merit my speaking out.”
In June, Republican attorneys general from 10 states, along with Idaho governor C.L. “Butch” Otter, urged the White House to let the program lapse by September 5 by refusing to grant any further DACA renewals. If not, they said they will encourage a federal court to fight it.
The policy currently covers more than 800,000 people who can legally apply for work permits. According to various immigrant rights groups, 200,000 more people have sought DACA status since Trump’s inauguration.
Director of advocacy and policy for the immigrant rights group United We Dream, Greisa Martínez Rosas, is a DACA beneficiary. She told reporters:
“We are ready to bring on the fight. We are ready to ensure that Donald Trump does not throw our lives to Congress like a hot potato. Donald Trump has the ability to keep the program in place and we will force him to do that — he awakened a sleeping giant and we will not go back to sleep.”
Trump admitted on the campaign trail he intended to end DACA. In April, though, he sent another message. He told the Associated Press young people the program protects could “rest easy.” His priority, he claimed, was deporting criminals, or “bad hombres.”
But that appears to have been yet another ruse.
Immigration lawyers from coast to coast are reporting individuals who pose no risk, with minimal or no criminal records, are being targeted for deportation.
Over 90 percent of removal proceedings in the first two months of Trump’s tenure have been against people who have committed no crime other living in the country undocumented. Early figures on deportation arrests show the number of people arrested without criminal records has doubled.
“Bad hombres” are even being rounded up for minor misdemeanors, like traffic tickets.
Here are again, waiting with baited breath again on the president’s decision.
Perhaps he will do the right thing for once.
Image credit: inmigracioninteligente.com