In 2012, the Obama administration founded the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which allows illegal immigrants who came to the U.S. as minors to receive a renewable two-year period of deferred action from deportation and makes them eligible for work permits.
This immigration policy was seen as a way to remove unnecessary immigration enforcement from “low priority” individuals and young adults with good behavior.
As of the first week of September, President Donald Trump announced plans to end the DACA program.
According to NBC News, both Democrats and (many) Congressional Republicans have shown support for the DACA program. The Trump administration is used to facing Democratic backlash, but many influential Republican lawmakers are likely to voice their concerns with Trump’s decision as well.
“It is right for there to be consequences for those who intentionally entered this country illegally,” said Sen. James Lankford, Republican from Oklahoma. “However, we as Americans do not hold children legally accountable for the actions of their parents.”
While 33% of renters move every year, not all U.S. residents move voluntarily. Immigrant parents decide for their children whether or not to enter a country — DACA has protected those young undocumented immigrants for nearly six years.
Though President Trump has ended the protective program, a six-month delay has been put in place. The delay could allow Congress to fully revamp the program and potentially save certain aspects of it.
According to the Pew Research Center, as of June 2016, 741,546 DACA applications were approved (overwhelmingly from Texas and California). In addition, up to 1.7 million people could be eligible for DACA student status.
CNN reports that Trump believes winding down the DACA program would be “more considerate” than letting it fail through the court system, but he emphasized his “America First” agenda.
“We will resolve the DACA issue with heart and compassion — but through the lawful Democratic process — while at the same time ensuring that any immigration reform we adopt provides enduring benefits for the American citizens we were elected to serve,” Trump added. “We must also have heart and compassion for unemployed, struggling and forgotten Americans.”
In addition to Lankford, Republicans Orrin Hatch of Utah and House Speaker Paul Ryan have both gone on record advising the president to not rescind DACA.
“I don’t think he should do that,” said Ryan.
New York state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, alongside Gov. Andrew Cuomo, plans on doing more than voicing concern about the president’s decision. Schneiderman plans on filing a lawsuit if DACA is terminated.
“The poem at the base of the Statue of Liberty — written by the descendant of early Jewish immigrants — promises this nation will ‘lift its lamp’ for the huddled masses,” added Schneiderman. “New York will never break that promise. And neither will my office.”