Back in June 2012, when former President Barack Obama was in office, it seemed like the world was in a completely different place. Even though it was not that long ago, it was a much simpler time when our nation was not split in half with different political views. Former President Barack Obama created the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals or DACA program, which provided a temporary lawful status for two years, subject renewal, for certain undocumented immigrants who came to the United States before reaching the age of 16.
Moving forward to almost the end of the first term for President Donald J. Trump, it seems like no undocumented immigrant is protected. The President announced in late December of 2019 that he will terminate the DACA program but will give Congress six months to pass legislation to make permanent resident status available to the participants before impleading the termination. President Trump also proposed a legalization program for $1.8 million DACA participants as part of a four-pillar Framework on Immigration Reform & Border Security. The Four Pillar framework consists of legislation to normalize the immigration status of people who are unlawfully in the U
.S. and who had entered the country as children. The administration's framework would strengthen border security, provide legal status for DACA recipients, and people eligible for DACA who did not apply. The program will also eliminate the diversity visa program and limit family-sponsored immigration to spouses and minor children of citizens and green cardholders.
Many undocumented immigrants are not surprised that President Trump is pursuing to remove the program that was supposed to be a compassionate act. Unfortunately, ICE has begun asking immigration courts to reopen administratively closed deportation cases against DACA recipients who continue to have no criminal or a minor record. ICE already confirmed in a statement to CNN that all DACA recipients whose deportation cases were administratively closed, can expect to see the reopening shortly.
The move to reopen deportation cases against DACA recipients or Dreamers as they call themselves comes as the U.S. Supreme Court considers whether to let the Trump administration end the program. During oral arguments in November, at least some justices made it clear that they were accepting the President's assurances that ending DACA would not mean deporting Dreamers.
Chief Justice John Roberts said that the dispute over DACA is really "about work authorization and these other benefits." Referring to the Dreamers, Roberts noted that the Trump administration, like the Obama administration before it, "said they are not going to deport people."
The fate of the DACA program is expected to be decided no later than June of 2020 when the Supreme Court issues rulings on the cases it hears this session. Several immigration attorneys said that if Roberts or other justices are deliberating based on the notion that Trump will not deport Dreamers, they are mistaken.
Evans-Schroeder, the Tucson immigration attorney, said, "The bottom line is that ICE is teeing these young people up to have final removal orders, and to be removed from the U.S. as soon as DACA is eliminated."
In a statement, ICE responded that Sessions' 2018 order determined that immigration judges "do not have the general authority to suspend indefinitely immigration proceedings by administrative closure and that such cases must be resolved one way or another."