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As DACA Celebrates Eight Year Anniversary, Trump Administration Continues to Defy Supreme Court Ruling – and Illegally Employ DHS Leadership

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Life-changing program for Dreamers helped change political history

Eight years ago, during the final months of another presidential election year, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program officially launched. Since that first application day of August 15, 2012, more than 800,000 Dreamers have relied on DACA’s life-changing protections and opportunities to strengthen their communities and the country. 

Of course, as we celebrate the eight year anniversary of DACA, Dreamers’ futures remain needlessly threatened due to the relentless attacks on DACA by the Trump administration and the complicity of Republicans in Congress: 

  • The Trump Administration remains in open defiance of the Supreme Court’s recent ruling on DACA and in violation of both administrative and constitutional law. 
  • A federal judge yesterday chastised DHS officials for declaring that the Supreme Court’s recent decision on DACA “has no basis in law.” District Court Judge Nicholas Garaufis specifically called out Attorney General William Barr to rein in senior DHS leadership, including Wolf, saying, “The attorney general should advise his client Mr. Wolf that it is not [a] benefit to anyone to have a federal agency take issue with a decision of the Supreme Court.” 
  • The administration’s recent memo curtailing DACA, authored by Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Chad Wolf, signals a two-step death knell for the popular program: restrict it now; end it just after the election. 
  • Today’s report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) finds that the senior leadership of the Department of Homeland Security – Including Chad Wolf – are not legally eligible to serve in their current roles and calls into question the legality of policies enacted on their watch.

Just like in 2012, the Trump administration’s attacks on DACA ensure that Dreamers and the future of programs like DACA are on the ballot this November. The GOP position is clear: end DACA, block legislation and blame Democrats for not legislating a solution. This should be troubling news for Republicans given that in poll after poll, four-fifths of the country and a majority of Republicans support Dreamers and DACA.

As a reminder, DACA and immigration contrasts helped change political history in 2012 and could once again. On June 15, 2012, President Obama announced DACA and subsequently sparked support and enthusiasm among Latino voters and other pro-immigrant voters who had been disillusioned with the lack of progress on immigration reform and record-high deportations during his first years in office. Meanwhile, Mitt Romney had pledged to veto the Dream Act and embraced self-deportation (see here for a reminder of how immigration changed the course of the 2012 elections).  

According to Douglas Rivlin, Director of Communication for America’s Voice: 

The strong majority of Americans recoil from Trump’s obsessive anti-immigrant focus, including his ongoing attacks against Dreamers.

Americans have come to know Dreamers, their stories, their families, and the fundamental fact that Dreamers are American. They are our neighbors and integral members of our communities and the law should catch up with reality by giving Dreamers a path to permanent legal status and citizenship.

The lawlessness of this campaign by Trump and his regime to defy the Supreme Court by denying new DACA applications and attempting to place the Trump administration above the law and the Supreme Court is absurd, hurtful and politically damaging to Republicans up and down the ticket. The very people claiming to be the champions of law and order in their heavy handed enforcement actions against immigrants and citizens are in their offices illegally, according to the government’s top watchdog, the GAO. This fish stinks from the top, yet Wolf, Morgan and Cuccinelli continue to make policy to further the nationalist agenda of the Trump regime.

The good news is that Americans remember what making legal status available to people looks like. It looks like the long lines and massive crowds that lined up for a chance to apply for DACA eight years ago this weekend at Navy Pier in Chicago and in cities across the country. It is pretty plain to American voters, even as reporters and politicians continue to frame immigration as a ‘controversial’ issue. The American people want longtime, deeply rooted immigrants who are thoroughly American already to be able to get in line and obtain the piece of paper that will allow them to continue living, working and raising families in the U.S. and building a better future for themselves and all Americans.