Saturday, June 17, 2017

Why The Trump Administration Officially Declared DAPA to Be Dead and Let DACA Live Another Day

As ImmigrationProf previously reported, the latest word from the Trump administration is that DAPA is dead and DACA survives -- at least for the time-being.  Hamed Aleaziz of the San Francisco Chronicle  offers a good analysis of the latest developments in deferred action.
As we all know, the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans (DAPA) program, announced by President Obama in 2015, has long been dead.  A divided Supreme Court (4-4) in United States v. Texas (2016) allowed the injunction by the lower courts preventing its implementation to stand.
The Trump administration has been criticized and here (and here) by some of his immigration base for not dismantling the predecessor to DAPA, the 2012 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.  During the campaign, Trump criticized DACA as unconstitutional.  The President has not dismantled DACA although a leaked order would have slowly ended the program. 
I think that the President is reluctant to expressly end DACA because (1) the DREAMERs are a most sympathetic group of undocumented immigrants with a broad base of political support; and (2) are organized politically and is a formidable political force.  DACA's abrupt end would almost certainly cause protests and mass action.  And, for those who have not noticed,  the Trump administration is quite busy -- some might say "under siege" -- at the moment with a number of other matters, including but not limited to, obstruction of justice, allegations of ties with Putin's Russia, etc.
Nonetheless, playing to the President's immigration base, the Trump administration has gone after some well-known DACA recipients, most recently Jessica Colotl, but also Daniela Vargas.  The arrests provoked controversy and legal action.
My analysis is that, to minimize political controversy at a time when the administration is under siege on non-immigration matters, the administration (1) expressly ended DAPA and DACA-plus, playing to the enforcement-oriented base of the Republican Party (and the group calling for the total end to DACA); and (2) let the original DACA remain in place, thus avoiding a political outburst by the DREAMers and their allies.
The political compromise may remain in place for the time-being.  Many will be watching the future of DACA.  And they should be.  Political vigilance is what has brought DACA and has kept it alive to now.

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