What is DACA and why does Donald Trump want to end it?

Credit: Jacquelyn Martin

Credit: Jacquelyn Martin

President Donald Trump will announce Tuesday that he is ending a program that protects undocumented immigrants brought to this country as children from being deported.

Nearly 800,000 undocumented immigrants are under the umbrella of the program –the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).

According to The Associated Press, Trump is expected to call for an end to the program in six months, possibly giving Congress the opportunity to address the status of those under the program.

Trump has been pressured to end DACA by a group of attorneys general who say the action created by the executive order that started the program in 2012 is illegal.

On Friday, House Speaker Paul Ryan, (R-Wisconsin), asked Trump to hold off on killing the program to let Congress try to come up with a fix, CNN reported.

Responding to a question about DACA, Ryan, told his hometown radio station WCLO in Janesville, Wisconsin that he didn’t believe Trump should kill the program because "I believe that this is something that Congress has to fix."

Here’s what you need to know about DACA.

What is the DACA program?

The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program protects people brought to the United States illegally as children from being immediately deported if they are picked up by immigration officials. The program began in 2012 as an executive order by former President Barack Obama.

Is everyone in the program an undocumented alien?


What does the program do?

The program allows those eligible to request “consideration of deferred action” (on their immigration status) for a period of two years. The deferred action is subject to renewal.

Does that mean you are a legal citizen?

No. According to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services website, "Deferred action does not provide lawful status."

How many people are in the program?

Nearly 800,000 people are in the program.

Who is eligible for DACA?

Those younger than the age of 31 on June 15, 2012, if they came to the U.S. before turning 16 and have lived in the country continuously since June 15, 2007.

Any other requirements?

Those to be considered for the program must have a high school diploma or GED certification, have been honorably discharged from the military or still be in school. DACA recipients cannot have a criminal record.

Why is the president considering ending the program?

A group of 10 state attorneys general has given the president a deadline of Sept. 5 to decide if the program will be continued. They say if Trump does not end the program by that date, they will file suit to end it.

Why do they want it ended?

The letter requesting the executive order be “sunsetted” says the executive order creating the DACA program is unlawful.

Which state attorneys general are participating?

The attorneys general from Texas, Alabama, Nebraska, Louisiana, Arkansas, South Carolina, Tennessee, Idaho, West Virginia and Kansas.

What has the president said about it?

The president campaigned on ending the program, then said after he was elected that that would be a hard decision to make.

What would happen if he does end it?

Some sources say Trump is expected to announce that the program will end but will allow those enrolled in it now to stay in the country for the length of their work permits – up to two years. No permits would be renewed. If it is ended, up to 800,000 could be deported.

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