The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program is a major success, providing opportunities and protections for nearly 800,000 Dreamers across America and strengthening our economy and society. Yet instead of celebrating the program’s success as we approach the five year anniversary of its implementation, the future of DACA is under serious threat.
The effort to end DACA is cruel, coordinated, and motivated by anti-immigrant animus. Yet the ringleaders intent to end DACA and their complicit allies are relying on excuses and obfuscation to try and confuse observers about their real motivations and coordination. Perhaps this is because they know DACA is popular and their anti-immigrant ideology is not.
Texas AG Ken Paxton Whitewashing His True Motivations: Paxton, the leader behind the threat by 10 Republican-controlled states to end DACA, tries to portray his assault on DACA as reasonable in a recent USA Todayop-ed and Wall Street Journal letter to the editor. “Phasing out DACA is about the rule of law, not the wisdom of any particular immigration policy,” Paxton wrote in USA Today. While it’s ironic that Ken Paxton would try to hide behind the “rule of law” given his ongoing legal challenges related to securities fraud charges (if convicted in an upcoming trial, Paxton would face up to 99 years in prison), his characterizations of his motives are disingenuous.
In addition to his lead role driving the state legal challenges to DACA, as well as the earlier DAPA program, Paxton is alead supporter of the Texas SB4 “papers please” law and a longtime advocate of harsh immigration enforcement. Recently, he praised the Trump Administration’s immigration enforcement efforts, saying, “there’s no comparison with any other administration as far as how quickly and effectively they’ve approached the problem on many different fronts.” Bottom line? Paxton’s motivations are primarily about his anti-immigrant animus and ideology.
U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions as a Willing Ally of Anti-DACA Forces: As the most anti-immigrant Senator during his pre-AG days, Jeff Sessions was a vocal opponent of DACA, the Dream Act, and other pro-immigrant measures. Now, if the states bring suit against DACA, Sessions would only have to refuse to defend the program in court for it to come to an end. As a recent letter from 42 Senate Democrats to President Trump noted, “While he is now a member of your Cabinet, the Attorney General has refused to defend your position on DACA,” citing recent and relevant instances of AG Sessions contradicting President Trump on DACA and examples of how Sessions has welcomed the states’ threat to sue the president.
Stephen Miller in the Know and Hinting that John Kelly and Jeff Sessions are Working Together on DACA: During a press gaggle on Air Force One on July 28, the rabidly anti-immigrant White House advisor Stephen Miller said that DHS Secretary and current White House Chief of Staff John Kelly is “working with the Justice Department on dealing with” DACA – a troubling sign given Sessions’ anti-DACA animus and a reminder that Miller and others in the anti-immigrant wing of the Administration are fully up to speed and engaged on the anti-DACA effort.
John Kelly: Either Supportive or Complicit in Push to End DACA: Kelly calls himself a himself a personal supporter of DACA but appeared content to cede control to AG Sessions and the anti-immigrant state AGs in their efforts to end DACA. Making matters worse, Kelly “won’t back” the reintroduced bipartisan Dream Act, despite issuing continued “pleas” to Members of Congress to address Dreamers’ status legislatively.
President Trump, who has said that Dreamers should “rest easy,” recently called DACA a “decision that I make.” As theWall Street Journal recently editorialized, if that’s really the case, he needs to stand up to the bullying attempt by the state AGs and anti-immigrant figures in his midst to force his hand and subvert his decision-making authority.