The Trump Administration is halting applications to the Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program as it examines the policy’s viability going forward, the Department of Homeland Security announced in a memo on Tuesday. DHS also said it would no longer accept applications for Employment Authorization Documents and is renewing existing DACA protections for only one year, rather than two.
The news comes just weeks after the Supreme Court rejected the administration’s effort to end the Obama-era policy, which has provided legal protections and work permits to some 800,000 unauthorized immigrants, or "DREAMers," who came to the United States as children. The Court ruled that the administration’s move to cancel the program was “arbitrary and capricious” and asserted that it had failed to “provide a reasoned explanation for its action.” It did not, however, address the legal viability of DACA or its rescission, thereby leaving open the opportunity for the White House to pursue other avenues to repeal.
Since then, the U.S. District Court in Maryland ruled that the DACA policy must be restored to what it was before the Trump administration rescinded it in September 2017 and ordered the White House to begin accepting new DACA applications. Likewise, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, who led the multistate lawsuit to restore DACA, came out in opposition to the Trump administration’s efforts, saying the Supreme Court’s ruling made it clear that “DACA stands, and now its doors are open to new Dreamers to apply.”
From the Supreme Court down, the courts have made it clear: DACA stands, and now its doors are open to new Dreamers to apply.— Xavier Becerra (@AGBecerra) July 17, 2020
That's a fact and that's what matters.
President Trump has promised to sign an Executive Order creating a “road to citizenship” with a focus on “merit-based immigration action,” although White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany has said the president would prefer to see Congress to provide a “legislative fix” to the issue. Rescinding DACA has been among Trump’s goals since he first announced his candidacy for president and vowed to “immediately terminate President Obama’s illegal executive order on immigration.”
Left-leaning human rights groups were quick to cry foul. The ACLU called the DHS announcement "patently illegal," while immigrant advocacy organization United We Dream accused the Trump administration of "unlawfully refusing to comply" with court orders. Erika Andiola, a progressive podcaster who describes herself as "undocumented and unafraid," said there was "absolutely no reason" for the decision and came purely out of "hate."
This is patently illegal. The Trump administration must accept new DACA-applications AND extend legal protection for the full two years. Anything less is in defiance of the Supreme Court. https://t.co/RRYomLiJRj— ACLU (@ACLU) July 28, 2020
The Trump Admin is unlawfully refusing to comply with the Supreme Court & MD Court orders to accept new DACA applications.— United We Dream (@UNITEDWEDREAM) July 28, 2020
The year long delay for "reviews" is an attack on undocumented people who are at threat of deportation!
They MUST comply, NOW!https://t.co/D8050Hy9lI
NEW: Trump will reject all initial requests for #DACA and limit renewals to 1 year. Right now is 2.— Erika Andiola (@ErikaAndiola) July 28, 2020
Let's be clear on this. There is absolutely no reason for this. Nothing. Not a legal reason. Not a political reason. Just hate. Cruelty is the point. https://t.co/7Wx4yJepnZ
But according to Acting Secretary Chad Wolf, the Executive Branch has “clear authority” to end “unlawful programs” like DACA.
“The DACA program was created out of thin air and implemented illegally,” Wolf said in a statement. “The American people deserve to have the Nation’s laws faithfully executed as written by their representatives in Congress—not based on the arbitrary decisions of a past Administration."