On Friday, it was reported that President Trump appeared likely to end DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals), an Obama-era program that allowed young people who came to the U.S. illegally as children to remain here in order to attend college.
Officials estimate as many as one million people could be impacted as the Trump administration weighs whether to let DACA gradually expire or end it immediately.
The Trump administration faces a deadline of September 5 from Republican state lawmakers who are hoping to force the president’s hand, but the president is also facing push back in the other direction as he is under fire for his response to the protests in Charlottesville – and he further fanned racial tensions with his pardon on Friday of former Arizona sheriff, Joe Arpaio.
In a release from the city of Davis, it was announced that Mayor Robb Davis would be joining mayors across the country to support DACA.
On Tuesday, August 29, 2017, officials from across the U.S. are joining voices to encourage the president and his administration to demonstrate their commitment to the American economy and the ideals of our nation by continuing the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals until Congress modernizes our immigration system and provides a more permanent form of relief for these individuals.
An initiative of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, this call comes at a time when the president has signaled his interest in ending DACA. Davis is home to countless high school students covered by DACA, and UC Davis has hundreds of DACA students – including many covered by AB540 supports and protections.
Mayor Davis said in a comment, “I join with officials from across the country and urge the president to continue DACA. I believe this is an issue of justice for the DACA students among us. In addition we all know that DACA is a source of strength for our City and University.”
According to the release, DACA provides employment authorization and protection from deportation for unauthorized immigrants who entered the United States before they turned 16 and has benefited nearly 800,000 youth since it began in 2012.
“The ability for youth to live and work in communities like Davis without fear of deportation is the foundation of sound, responsible immigration policy. It also represents a fundamental moral commitment of our community,” the mayor said. “We stand with the people in our community who have been protected by DACA, (in) strongly supporting the program, and calling upon the President to make no changes to it. “
A press conference will be held in Sacramento this morning “to demonstrate that Sacramento stands with the DREAMers and urge the President to preserve DACA. The DREAM (Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors) Act has been proposed legislation for a multi-phase process for alien minors to achieve permanent residency.
“This event will be part of a national Mayor’s Day of Action where mayors from cities across the country will hold similar events to highlight the importance of DACA and the impact DREAMers have in our nation.”
Mayor Steinberg’s office is tracking developments with DACA and believes “there is a possibility that President Trump could move to repeal DACA as early as this week.”
The communication indicates, “Since DACA was enacted in 2012, it has provided a pathway to education and employment for nearly 800,000 young people who lived in the United States home since their childhoods. More than a quarter of all DACA recipients live in California, with thousands living in Sacramento.”
According to a recent report from the Center for American Progress (CAP), nearly eight in ten voters support allowing DREAMers to remain permanently in the country, including almost three-quarters of Trump voters.
CAP also estimates that the United States GDP would lose $460.3 billion over the next decade if DACA were repealed, in addition to the loss of 685,000 workers from the nation’s economy. California stands to lose over $11.6 billion if DACA workers were removed.
“These are not criminals or drug dealers. These are hard-working students who call the United States home and who, through no fault of their own, now face a potentially devastating threat,” the report said.
According to reports this week, the September 5 deadline was set by a group of Republican state lawmakers, led by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton.
The group was able to successfully halt Obama-era programs that would have protected certain parents living in the country illegally, and they have threatened to take on DACA should the administration fail to act to rescind the order and stop issuing work permits by their deadline.
“It’s forced him,” said Roy Beck, the executive director of NumbersUSA, which advocates for lower immigration. “Inertia’s great until something gets in your way and you have to either rev up the engines to go through the barrier or just stop.”
However, canceling the program now on the heels of Charlottesville and the pardon of Sheriff Arpaio has risks.
Civil rights groups warned that canceling DACA would play into the hands of white supremacists.
“It would be a grave moral and legal error,” said Vanita Gupta, director of the Leadership Conference on Human Rights and former head of the Justice Department’s civil rights division under President Barack Obama.
“Killing the DACA program as the Trump administration’s first post-Charlottesville move would be absolutely shameful,” Ms. Gupta added. “We must not allow the hate violence that we saw on the streets of Charlottesville to become the guiding force for policy making.”
For his part, former President Obama urged then President-elect Trump to think “long and hard” prior to halting DACA. He referred to “any attempt to end the program because he would see that as an assault on American values.
“The notion that we would just arbitrarily or because of politics punish those kids, when they didn’t do something themselves…would merit my speaking out,” President Obama said.
—David M. Greenwald reporting