The White House announced today that the United States will take steps to wind down legal protections for hundreds of thousands of immigrants brought into the country as children, often called “Dreamers,” while it conducts a legal review after the Supreme Court rejected President Donald Trump’s plan to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, better known as DACA.
The DACA program was created in 2012 by then-President Barack Obama as a stopgap measure to shield from deportation people who were brought into the United States as children and did not have citizenship or legal residency status. The protection lasts for two years at a time and can be renewed. DACA does not provide a pathway to citizenship.
A senior administration official said that despite the Supreme Court ruling, the White House still viewed the DACA program as illegal and that the court ruling left room for the administration to pursue other ways of ending the program. The Trump administration would “limit the scope” of DACA while the administration reviews its legality, the official said.
While the program is under review, the Trump administration announced it will reject initial requests and application fees for new filings, will consider all applications for renewal on a case by case basis but will limit the provision to one year rather than a two-year renewal, and will reject all applications for advance parole absent “extraordinary circumstances.”
Trump attempted to end DACA in September 2017, making good on a campaign promise to terminate the federal program.
The Supreme Court ruled in June that the administration could not carry out its plan to shut down the DACA program because the government failed to give an adequate justification for doing so. Chief Justice John Roberts wrote in his opinion that it was not unconstitutional for the Trump administration to terminate DACA, but that the administration would need to give a more detailed reasoning for ending it.
Trump was furious over the Court’s ruling, tweeting that the decision was “politically charged” and saying that new justices were needed. He vowed to try again to end DACA.
The White House said Tuesday that they were expecting some court challenges. The Trump administration has already taken steps to slow down the DACA program. Last week the government said in a hearing in U.S. District Court in Maryland that it has not “granted nor rejected” DACA applications, rather they have put the program “on hold.”
The Maryland federal court ordered that the Trump administration restore DACA to its original form before Trump attempted to end it in a 2017 memo, essentially ordering the Department of Homeland Security to accept new DACA applications.
The Trump administration is getting around the federal court order by issuing a new memo that supersedes all previous DACA memos, the administration official said Tuesday. The White House expects to face more court challenges around its latest changes to the program. Acting Department of Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolfe is expected to issue the new memo later Tuesday laying out the details.
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