Confirming a week-plus of rumors, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced Tuesday morning that the Trump administration will terminate the Obama-created executive-branch DACA program, which allows individuals who were brought to the U.S. as children to receive renewable two-year work permits that provide protection from deportation.
Put more bluntly, the announcement means that people who’ve lived in the U.S. for as long as 36 years—and who’ve maintained clean records and sought employment—will once again be subject to deportation “back” to countries they may not remember. The public generally opposes deportation of such individuals, who are known as DREAMers because of the DREAM Act, which would have created a path to citizenship for them had it not failed in Congress in 2010. Trump seemed to suggest as recently as last Friday that he would not act punitively toward the group:
The administration will wind DACA down over six months—it won’t be formally ended until Oct. 5—and is arguing that this delay will give Congress time to pass legislation that creates a long-term resolution of DREAMers’ legal status.
Democratic Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin and Republican South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham have announced that they will repropose DREAM Act legislation, and Republican Sens. Orrin Hatch, John McCain, and Thom Tillis have said they support such efforts, at least in the abstract.* Of course, it’s worth remembering that there was bipartisan support for immigration reform in 2010 too before hard-line anti-immigrant conservatives—who have not exactly receded from power in the Republican Party in the ensuing seven years—rallied against it; as recently as the 2016 primaries, Sens. Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz were fighting over who could more effectively accuse the other of being soft on undocumented immigrants. So … we’ll see.
Update, 2:50 p.m.: Republican Kansas Sen. Jerry Moran and Republican Oklahoma Sen. James Lankford have also recently expressed support for the idea of allowing DREAMers to stay in the U.S.
*Correction, Sept. 5, 2017: This post originally misspelled Sen. Lindsey Graham’s first name.