Political Fight on DACA Imminent

The fates of hundreds of thousands of young immigrants will likely be decided in September, when the Trump Administration determines whether it will continue the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program, better known as “DACA.”

As reported most recently in CNN, an order from a federal court in Texas instructs that the Trump Administration must decide whether it will cease the DACA program by September 5, 2017; if the program continues past that date, several state attorneys general, suing on behalf of their states, will be permitted to continue with a civil action to have the program judicially terminated.  These states have argued that they do not want to spend state tax dollars for people who have received DACA, on benefits such as driver’s licenses and unemployment benefits.  Because DACA is entirely a construction of the Obama Administration, the program is under the control of the Office of the President, and is thus on weaker legal footing than if it had been approved through an act of Congress.

This will be a tough decision for the president.  The new White House Chief of Staff, John Kelly, is a proponent of the DACA program, as are countless business owners across the country who rely on immigrant labor.  Moreover, as we reported in an earlier post, Senators Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Dick Durbin of Illinois – one Republican and one Democrat – recently proposed the Bridge Act, which would grant a pathway to permanent residence and citizenship for millions of young people who are in the country without documentation, and would include those already approved for DACA.  Moreover, as CNN reports, Representatives Carlos Curbelo of Florida and Luis Gutierrez of Illinois – again, one Republican and one Democrat – have both proposed similar bills in the House.  There is thus bipartisan support in Congress, as well as within the corporate world, for a long-term policy to deal with this issue.

As the September 5 date looms, the NMM Immigration Blog will continue to update you on breaking developments.

If you have questions regarding immigration, please contact me at wcmenard@nmmlaw.com.

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