President Donald Trump will allow a cornerstone Obama-era immigration policy to continue for now, according to a statement in fact-sheet form released Thursday evening by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
The Trump administration will continue Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program–usually referred to as “Dreamer” protections. DACA allows for undocumented immigrants who arrived in the United States as children to remain in the country for the time being and also helps them acquire work permits to attain legal status.
The news was hailed by immigration attorneys, but the White House immediately cast doubt on the long-term effect of the statement, saying that the fact sheet was only meant to make clear that Dreamers would not be deported immediately, according to the New York Times.
LawNewz.com spoke with Texas immigration lawyer Michael Wirz, who welcomed the decision. He said:
“It’s just the right thing to do. These kids had no choice in coming over here…For the people who say this isn’t their country, that’s wrong. This is their country. They were raised here. They just weren’t lucky enough to be born here.”
Wirz was careful to guard his praise for the extension by clarifying that DACA isn’t the be-all, end-all program for young undocumented immigrants that some might imagine. He explained, “It’s not even really legal status. It’s sort of like a pardon. You’re not really in status. You’re not really out of status. It’s basically a program where a good kid who graduated from high school can ask not to be deported.”
Meanwhile, DHS will rescind DACA’s sister program, Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA), which offered many of the same protections to Dreamers’ parents. DAPA never actually never went into effect, being enjoined before the Obama administration had a chance to enact it–a ruling that was upheld after the Supreme Court stalemated on the issue.
[image via Mark Van Scyoc/Shutterstock]