In a move that’s still raising some eyebrows even among congressional republicans President Trump said that he would halt the Dreamers program. The Dreamers program – known by its more official name as DACA, or deferred action for childhood arrivals – allows a small class of immigrants who entered the United States as minors to eventually receive special consideration by the immigration department.
In essence, DACA says that if you meet certain criteria you will face deferred action on your immigration decision. The deferred action period lasts for up to two years, and some immigrants who qualify for the program could also be eligible for work permits. DACA has become a much-beloved part of the Democratic platform and something of a shibboleth following Obama’s OKing the policy in June of 2012.
The policy is in serious jeopardy, though, as President Trump has narrowed his sights and vowed to do away with the program. Congressional republicans largely oppose Trump’s decision because it limits the available pool of labor in this country, especially among blue-collar workers and jobs, and it presents a serious barrier to bipartisan negotiations that are slated for later this month. Both sides have to come together to agree on a budget lest the government shut down, yet Trump appears to be using the DACA issue as a bargaining chip of sorts.
Although some republicans have wrinkled their noses at the policy’s lax attitude towards immigration as unconstitutional, many of these same politicians live in state where large portions of the workforce comes from work visas like those issued from the DACA program.
Republicans are playing an interesting game right now and hoping that Trump reneges on his promise to banish DACA. So, what are republicans angling at? They’re hoping that Trump will abandon this attack on DACA so that they can trade codification of DACA with the democrats for promissory notes on paying for Trump’s border wall with Mexico in the upcoming budget negotiations. Whether all of this will actually work is still a question mark for republicans and democrats alike.
Jeff Flake, a republican senator from Arizona, desperately called on Trump to drop his animosity towards DACA and leave the work-permit policy intact. Still other republican politicians like House Majority Leader Paul Ryan have called on Trump to drop the attack on DACA on more humanitarian grounds. Democrats argue that Trump’s moves leave immigrant children precariously perched.