Latest Trump Administration Attempt to Dismantle DACA

Washington, D.C., July 29, 2020 - Despite the U.S. Supreme Court ruling blocking its first attempt to cancel the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, the Trump administration has once again renewed its effort to end DACA and put hundreds of thousands of immigrant children and families at risk of deportation. This action contradicts the Supreme Court’s decision and is anticipated to lead to litigation.

On July 28, 2020, over one month following the Supreme Court decision ordering the reinstatement of the original 2012 DACA Memorandum, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued a memo announcing that DHS will “thoughtfully consider the future” of the DACA program and significantly scale it back in the interim. Effective immediately, the memo states that DHS will reject all initial requests for DACA and associated applications for Employment Authorization, reject new and pending requests for advanced parole except in the case of exceptional circumstances, and limit the period of deferred action status granted from two years to one year.

“This is unacceptable, illegal, and in direct defiance of the Supreme Court’s decision. DHS must accept new DACA applications, consider applications for advanced parole, and grant deferred action status to applicants for two years,” said Olivia Golden, executive director of the Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP).

“The Trump Administration’s actions are not only in direct defiance of the rule of law but also contradict the nation’s best interests, along with the wellbeing of young people in the program and their families, including about 250,000 citizen children. These young people and their families are here to stay. At a time when their contributions as health care workers, caregivers, teachers, essential workers, and members of their families and communities are more evident than ever, attempting once again to remove them from their homes, families, and lives in the United States is outrageous, cruel, and unjust,” said Golden.

The DHS “review” of DACA is, in reality, the latest harmful tactic the Trump administration is using to dismantle the program. Discontinuing DACA would jeopardize family incomes, food and housing security, access to health care and educational opportunities, and the sense of safety and security that is essential for these young Americans. It would also undermine the health and wellbeing of more than 250,000 young children of DACA recipients who will again live with the terror that their parents may face deportation.

Rather than harming young people and their families, the administration should maintain DACA and extend it to include the youngest potential recipients who are finishing high school. This youngest cohort has so far been unable to access DACA’s protections due to the Trump administration’s policies, making their educational and career dreams far less attainable.

CLASP and dozens more children’s advocacy organizations, medical professionals, and child development experts filed an amicus brief in the Supreme Court case, on behalf of the hundreds of thousands of U.S. citizen children whose parents have DACA. The brief explained that cancelling DACA would put more than 250,000 U.S. citizen children of DACA recipients at risk.

Congress must create a pathway to citizenship by passing H.R. 6, the American Dream and Promise Act. DACA recipients have also been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic, and Congress must take immediate action to ensure employment authorization is extended in the next COVID-19 package. Vanessa Meraz, a research assistant at CLASP and DACA recipient, wrote: “We need permanent protections now – starting with the passage of the American Dream and Promise Act…Home is here, not just for DACA recipients like myself, but also for our families.”

See CLASP’s DACA resource page for analysis and updates, action items, information on renewing DACA, resources for educators, and mental health supports.

Read the amicus brief here, with appendix. Data about DACA beneficiaries can be found here, including the number of U.S. citizen children affected by the policy in each state.

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The Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP) is a national, nonpartisan, anti-poverty organization advancing policy solutions for people with low incomes. CLASP’s solutions directly address the barriers people face because of their race, ethnicity, and immigration status.