WASHINGTON – The Trump administration said on Thursday that a program that has protected hundreds of thousands of young immigrants from deportation will remain in effect, though it did not say for how long.
President Donald Trump had pledged to “immediately” cancel that program, known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA. But, so far, most immigrants protected by the effort have not been targeted by stepped-up efforts to find and deport immigrants living in the country illegally.
DACA was created five years ago and, as of March 31, has protected 787,000 young immigrants, according to government data.
The protection program for parents, like the one for young immigrants, was created with a policy memo, not by legislation. Both programs required that participants meet certain conditions, including not having a history of serious crimes.
Arrests of immigrants in the interior of the country have increased under the Trump administration, but deportations are slightly down as fewer people have been caught crossing the Mexican border into the United States illegally.
Trump has made immigration enforcement a top priority and has vowed to continue a crackdown on those living in the U.S. illegally and those trying to sneak into the country.
But he’s taken a softer line on the program affecting young immigrants, who are sometimes referred to as “Dreamers.” In an Associated Press interview in April, Trump said his administration is “not after the dreamers, we are after the criminals” and that “The dreamers should rest easy.”
Department of Homeland Security’s announcement follows:
“Rescission of Memorandum Providing for Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (“DAPA”)
The rescinded memo purported to provide a path for illegal aliens with a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident child to be considered for deferred action. To be considered for deferred action, an alien was required to satisfy six criteria:
(1) as of November 20, 2014, be the parent of a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident;
(2) have continuously resided here since before January 1, 2010;
(3) have been physically present here on November 20, 2014, and when applying for relief;
(4) have no lawful immigration status on that date;
(5) not fall within the Secretary’s enforcement priorities; and
(6) “present no other factors that, in the exercise of discretion, make [ ] the grant of deferred action inappropriate.”
Prior to implementation of DAPA, twenty-six states challenged the policies established in the DAPA memorandum in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas. The district court enjoined implementation of the DAPA memorandum, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit affirmed the district court’s decision, and the Supreme Court allowed the district court’s injunction to remain in place.
The rescinded policy also provided expanded work authorization for recipients under the DACA program for three years versus two years. This policy was also enjoined nationwide and has now been rescinded.
The June 15, 2012 memorandum that created the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program will remain in effect.”