House Speaker Paul Ryan issued the following statement today on President Donald Trump’s decision to end the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy in six months:
“However well-intentioned, President Obama’s DACA program was a clear abuse of executive authority, an attempt to create law out of thin air. Just as the courts have already struck down similar Obama policy, this was never a viable long-term solution to this challenge. Congress writes laws, not the president, and ending this program fulfills a promise that President Trump made to restore the proper role of the executive and legislative branches. But now there is more to do, and the president has called on Congress to act. The president’s announcement does not revoke permits immediately, and it is important that those affected have clarity on how this interim period will be carried out. At the heart of this issue are young people who came to this country through no fault of their own, and for many of them it’s the only country they know. Their status is one of many immigration issues, such as border security and interior enforcement, which Congress has failed to adequately address over the years. It is my hope that the House and Senate, with the president’s leadership, will be able to find consensus on a permanent legislative solution that includes ensuring that those who have done nothing wrong can still contribute as a valued part of this great country.”
Trump asked Congress to replace the program legislatively before it is phased out starting March 8, 2018. According to the Trump Administration, the program currently helps 800,000 illegal immigrants currently between the ages of 15 and 36, often referred to as “Dreamers,” to remain in the United States with work permits. The DACA program did not grant legal status but instead granted a deferral from deportation under the guise of prosecutorial discretion.
To be eligible for the program, the individual had to arrive in the country before 2007 and had to be under the age of 16 when they arrived. The person had to continuously reside in the United States since then and be enrolled in school or a be a member of the military. The individual also could not be convicted of a felony, three misdemeanors or “significant” misdemeanor, or be considered a threat to the United States.
It is the Trump Administration’s position that the program was created without the consent of Congress so it is unconstitutional and unable to be defended in court. Ten state Attorneys General were already suing to overturn the DACA policy when the Trump Administration made its announcement today. Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel was not among those suing the Trump Administration.
The Department of Homeland Security does not have a breakdown of how many will be affected by the program’s end in each state.