The Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly announced Thursday the official cancellation of President Obama’s 2014 attempt to broaden his previous alien amnesty program called “Dreamers.” The decision had been held up by federal courts for more than two years now.
Kelly’s decision leaves in place the 2012 temporary amnesty for less than 800,000 Dreamers. However, it officially ends immigrant rights group’s hopes of increasing that controversial policy to as many as 4 million more illegal immigrants.
In his memo, Kelly said that after consulting with Attorney General Jeff Sessions, he was rescinding the November 20, 2014, memorandum. Furthermore, he expressed he made this decision to stay in line with his direction of establishing national immigration enforcement policies and priorities.
The Homeland Security Department explained Kelly’s action as a legal matter. They said that there’s no credible path forward to litigate the enjoined policy. Liberal politicians and media outlets will brutally criticize Kelly’s decision. However, many analysts suggest it was an important move considering that this was one of the most controversial actions that Obama made in his eight years in the White House.
The Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) was intended as a companion to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (Dream Act). This program stalled deportation for foreign children who were brought to America illegally and granted them two-year work permits. DAPA was implemented by an executive action back in November 2014.
Nevertheless, this program remained in a legal limbo after many states sued the government, claiming that President Obama had overstepped his constitutional authority and was illegally implementing a back-door amnesty. Legal experts explained that this was a clear case of abuse of power. A federal judge in Texasto the program in February 2015.
The reason why it was so easy for Kelly to revoke the program, and the reason why it would be difficult for liberals to attack his decision, is that this program wasn’t passed through Congress. In fact, it only came as a result of an executive memo, meaning that it can be easily rescinded. Naturally, this is exactly what the secretary did.
When President Obama was pushing for this program, he said that parents of American citizens who had been in the U.S. since 2010 and kept a clean criminal record could easily apply for the amnesty. In addition to the work permit and two-year stay of deportation, the program entitled them to taxpayer benefits such as tax credits from the IRS and a driver’s license.
Kelly also said that, prior to implementation of DAPA, 26 states managed to challenge the policies established in the DAPA memorandum in the U.S. District Court for Texas Southern District. Moreover, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit affirmed its decision and the Supreme Court allowed the injunction.
While Kelly’s statement made it clear that the “Dream Act” would stay in force at this time, many believe that the administration of President Trump could overturn Obama’s first amnesty order eventually. In fact, this was one of Trump’s major promises during his campaign in 2016.
While Trump will not immediately eliminate protections for the so-called Dreamers, he might follow through on a campaign pledge in order to deport them or take away the controversial work permits.
In fact, even when Trump stated that “Dream Act” recipients should be treated carefully, illegal immigrant advocates noted, without any evidence, that immigration officials have deported Dreamers. Given this situation, the possibility of the president’s complete victory in this matter is yet to be seen.
— Laura Litvan (@LauraLitvan)
While the arrest of immigrants in the interior of America has increased under Trump’s administration, deportations are slightly down as the number of people crossing the Mexican border into the United States has reduced dramatically.
The President has made immigration enforcement one of the main priorities and has vowed to continue a crackdown on those who lives in America illegally and those who are trying to sneak in. While the journey to achieve a major success in this issue is quite long and difficult, Trump has already shown many signs that suggest he could set a legendary precedent on illegal immigration.
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