Trump's Ending of DACA to Spark Protests, Lawsuits, and Congressional Battles
Undocumented immigrants, rights groups, and politicians are mobilizing ahead of the Trump administration's Tuesday announcement
As members of the immigrant rights movement prepare for an 11am announcement regarding President Donald Trump's reported plan to terminate the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which allows undocumented immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children to apply for temporary, renewable work permits and relief from deportation, demonstrations in support of DACA were planned across the country on Tuesday.
In addition to actions in cities nationwide, "advocates plan to rally at the White House in the morning, march to the Justice Department and the Trump hotel, then circle back to the White House," the Washington Post reports. "A small group will also launch a five-day fast at the First Trinity Lutheran Church in the District."
Ahead of Tuesday's protests, Adam Luna, communications director of United We Dream, the largest immigrant youth organization in the country, told the Post DACA's opponents "will be put in the position of having to look immigrant youth in the eye and say to these people, who have lived in the United States since they were one year old, that we literally want you locked into a detention camp and forced out of this country."
Trump has reportedly been urged by members of his administration, including Attorney General Jeff Sessions, to terminate DACA. For several days, protesters have gathered at events, many coordinated by United We Dream, and called on the president to keep the program.
Individuals and other groups have also organized and spoken out in support of the program, including at least five state attorneys general, eight governors, 130 mayors, and 230 state legislators who have signed a letter recognizing how DACA recipients "have enriched and strengthened our cities, states, schools, businesses, congregations, and families."
"Today, those of us benefiting from the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) are in danger of losing our ability to provide for ourselves and our families due to Trump's reckless and inhumane decision to play politics with the lives of almost 1 million of us with DACA," said Catalina Velasquez, a DACA recipient and a board member of Our Revolution, which urged supporters of the program to participate in a "Midtown Shutdown" event in New York City on Tuesday.
In addition to hosting events in the streets and at government buildings across the United States, groups have been raising awareness about DACA online.
Although the announcement is scheduled for late Tuesday morning, "Trump, an obsessive television viewer and master of the medium, is not scheduled to face the cameras," The Huffington Post reports. Instead, Sessions—who is infamous for his long history opposing any programs or proposals sympathetic to undocumented immigrants—will hold a press conference, and he "will not be taking questions" from members of the press after the briefing.
The actions gained even more momentum and media coverage on Monday, after Politico reported late Sunday night that the administration would announce a six-month delay before ending DACA protections for nearly 800,000 people. The reported six-month delay is supposed to allow Congress a brief window of time to pass immigration reform to address the young people eligible for DACA, and many more millions of undocumented immigrants in the United States.
Although Sens. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) have introduced the DREAM Act, versions of the legislation have failed to pass both bodies of Congress since it was first introduced in 2001.
Trump alluded to this in a tweet Tuesday morning, to which immigrant rights advocates quickly responded.
"We must defend DACA, pressure Congress to immediately pass the DREAM ACT," said Velasquez, "as well as pass comprehensive immigration reform for the 11 million undocumented immigrants living in this country."
Trump's reported decision to end the DACA is partly the result of a threat from 10 state attorneys general, led by Ken Paxton of Texas, to sue if he doesn't end the program by Tuesday. However, if the president goes through with it, attorneys general from New York State and Washington State have said they will file a lawsuit challenging DACA's termination.
"We have been working closely with legal teams around the country," Washington attorney general Bob Ferguson told The Hill, "and we expect to be joined by other states in this action."