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Four Key Points About Yesterday’s DACA Announcement

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Below are four key points about the Trump administration’s DACA memo yesterday:

  • A death knell for DACA, if Trump gets his way. While the White House tried to spin yesterday’s announcement as some sort of compromise – and several headlines ran with their “extension of DACA” framing – it’s best understood as a death knell for DACA. The memo bars new applicants into DACA, blocking 300,000 otherwise eligible Dreamers from applying, and shortens renewals for current DACA holders from two years to one. So it’s worse than the DACA status quo of recent years and in open defiance of the recent court rulings requiring re-opening DACA to first time applicants. And despite the supposed contemplation over whether to fully rescind the program again, let’s be real: the Trump administration will seek to end the program as soon as they can after November if they win re-election.
  • Trump administration openly defying Supreme Court: In June, the Supreme Court told the Trump administration it would have to return DACA to its pre-September 2017 state unless and until the administration withdrew the program through a proper procedural unwinding. Earlier this month, a federal court ruled that the administration needed to re-open the DACA program to new applicants. Yesterday’s DHS memo attempted to lay the groundwork to end DACA fully and immediately bars new applicants into the program without going through the procedural process required by the SCOTUS ruling (read this Slate explainer from Mark Joseph Stern for more on why Trump is now openly defying SCOTUS). While additional legal proceedings are undoubtedly coming down the pike, it’s already clear the Trump administration is defying the courts, which fits into a larger pattern of lawlessness by this President and his underlings.
  • Trump’s riff on DACA is dehumanizing and delusional: At a press briefing yesterday afternoon in response to a question about the DHS memo on DACA, President Trump said, “We are going to make DACA happy.” In addition to the transparent falsehood – not a single DACA recipient or potential applicant is happy about yesterday’s announcement – Trump’s awkward and dehumanizing phrasing is telling and purposeful. He doesn’t see DACA recipients as people, parents, spouses or essential members of our American community; he sees them as a thing. But despite the efforts of Stephen Miller and Trump, Americans know that DACA isn’t just a program – it’s the real lives of nearly 700,000 of our friends, family members, and colleagues and that American communities have been strengthened through the program.
  • DACA is on the ballot in November: Yesterday’s memo ensured that the fate of DACA and Dreamers in this country will be on the ballot in November. 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. This seems to have only increased as the American people look around and see that immigrants, including DACA recipients, are serving in essential roles to help America through the health  and economic crises we face.

The following is a statement by Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice:

From the beginning of this administration, Trump and Stephen Miller have wanted to end DACA without paying a political cost for doing so. This DHS memo is more of the same. They are pretending to ‘extend’ the program when they are preparing to end the program. Yesterday’s announcement is an obvious ploy that shouldn’t fool anyone.

Despite years of platitudes from some Republicans in the House and Senate, the Republican Party position is clear: end DACA, deport Dreamers and blame Democrats for not legislating a solution. 

Trump and the GOP are on the losing side of the law, public opinion, 2020 politics, and history. They should be judged accordingly.