Trump’s DACA Decision Puts Dreamers’ Future in the Hands of
Since DACA was implemented, in 2012, its beneficiaries, who came to theU.S. as small children, have been living in the country under “lawfulstatus.” They’ve been able to obtain work visas and driver’s licenses,and were free from the immediate fear of arrest and deportation. But DACA does not grant citizenship. “It’s a temporary, stopgap measure,” Obama said when he first announced the policy. Yet years have passed andCongress never formalized Dreamers’ status, despite the fact that amajority of Americans, across ideological lines, supported both theircitizenship and their right to remain in the country. Ninety-seven percent of DACA recipients are in school or in the workforce, and—per theconditions of the program—not one of them has a criminal history.
For years, even conservative opponents of DACA avoided publiclycriticizing its recipients—they stayed on safer political ground andattacked the program as an example of Presidential overreach by Obama.Trump himself was forced to be diplomatic on the issue: despite acampaign vow to end the policy, he told Dreamers “not to worry” after hetook office. “We are going to deal with DACA with heart,” he said inFebruary. A group of hard-line Republican attorneys general, hearing inthis the potential for Trump to renege on a promise, decided to pressurehim into taking action. Earlier this summer, they threatened to sue thefederal government over DACA if the President didn’t cancel it bySeptember 5th. Trump could have ordered his Administration to defend thepolicy against a legal challenge—but that would have risked angering hiscore supporters. As this arbitrary deadline approached, Trump wavered.Over the weekend, he reportedly asked his advisers for a “way out.”