Details about DACA, Trump’s order, new bill
Last week, the Trump administration announced that it would stop taking applications for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which protects some 17,000 Colorado residents from deportation.
Here’s a look at the origins and provisions of DACA and details of the administration’s plan.
Start of program: Former President Barack Obama created DACA in June 2012 by executive order.
Requirements: Under the order, the Department of Homeland Security would no longer initiate proceedings to deport some people who came to the United States illegally as children. People could apply for the program if they:
• Were younger than 31 as of June 15, 2012, and came to the United States before they were 16.
• Lived continuously in the United States since June 15, 2007.
• Were in school, had graduated or obtained a certificate of completion from high school, or were an honorably discharged veteran of the Coast Guard or armed forces.
• Had not been convicted of “a felony, significant misdemeanor, three or more other misdemeanor and do not otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety.”
Background: The order was based on the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act. First introduced in 2001, a version of the bill passed the U.S. House in 2010, in the waning days of Democratic control of that chamber. Needing 60 votes in the 100-member Senate to clear the way for a final vote, the act got only 55 votes. Obama issued his order six months later.
Legal rationale: Obama’s order was based on “prosecutorial discretion,” essentially asserting that the government lacks the resources to enforce the letter of immigration law against all 11 million people in the country illegally, so was choosing to exclude this group. Critics argue that even though the principle was applied by Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, Obama overstepped his authority and that the principle had never been used on such a broad scale.
Precedent: In 1986, Reagan signed the Immigration Reform and Control Act, which included a provision granting 3 million unauthorized immigrants a path to legalization if they had been continuously present in the United States since 1982. It excluded ineligible spouses and children. The Reagan administration later exercised prosecutorial discretion to cover children. After the House failed to act on a Senate-approved measure to cover spouses, Bush did so by executive order.
Provisions: Obama’s executive order did the following:
• Allowed individuals to apply for deferred action for two years, subject to renewal.
• Approval made applicants eligible for renewable work visas.
• It did not provide a path to citizenship or make those covered eligible for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act, food stamps or other basic welfare programs.
Now: President Donald Trump last week suspended DACA and urged Congress to come up with a replacement. Here are provisions of his order:
• Initial requests for DACA were halted immediately.
• Homeland Security will process requests accepted by Sept. 5.
• Homeland Security will process only those renewal requests received by Oct. 5, from current beneficiaries whose benefits expire between Sept. 5, 2017, and March 5, 2018.
Colorado Sens. Cory Gardner, a Republican, and Michael Bennet, a Democrat, are among cosponsors of the Dream Act of 2017.
It provides: Permanent residency for those brought to the country illegally before age 18 who have not committed crimes and have been “continuously physically present in the United States” for four years before the law were to take effect.
It includes: A path to citizenship.
Sources: National Immigration Law Center, Pew Research Center, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, Department of Homeland Security, The Hill, National Review, New York Times.
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