Good afternoon. This morning, faced with the very real possibility of a potential immediate shutdown of the entire DACA program by a federal court, President Trump took the responsible and constitutional step of announcing that the administration will be phasing out the program over the next two years.
Today’s September 5th deadline was set by the plaintiffs presenting the administration with two, and only two, real options to choose from: the likely sudden cancellation of the program by a judge or an orderly wind-down that preserves the rule of law and returns the question to the legislative branch where it belongs. The President chose the latter of the two options.
The President made the best decision in light of the fact that the system was set up by the Obama administration, in clear violation of federal law. President Obama even admitted this himself when announcing the program, calling it a “temporary stopgap measure” and calling on Congress to act.
DACA was initiated after Congress explicitly rejected the same proposal in legislative form. In other words, President Obama didn’t just suspend federal law, but implemented a policy Congress had explicitly rejected.
There is a misconception that DACA primarily serves as a shield from deportation. This is misleading. DACA grants work authorization to nearly 800,000 individuals who are not legally authorized to work. DACA recipients, whose average age is in their 20s, were not an enforcement priority before, and they certainly won’t become a priority now. The priorities remain the same: criminals, security threats, and those who repeatedly violate our immigration laws.
The main effect of today’s announcement is that work permits and other government benefits are being gradually phased out. But rather than leave DACA recipients and men and women of immigration enforcement in confusing limbo, while the DACA program was challenged by states in the same court that struck down another of the previous administration’s unlawful immigration orders earlier this year, President Obama [sic] is laying out a responsible 24-month phase-out — sorry, President Trump.
No permits will be expiring for another six months, and permits will remain active for up to two full years. The President was elected partly on his promise to deliver meaningful immigration reform that puts the jobs, wages, and security of the American people first. He is delivering on that promise every day, and he has put forward serious proposals to Congress that would responsibly end illegal immigration, prevent visa overstays, remove dangerous criminals, protect American jobs and wages, and create a merit-based system that grows our middle class.
These are not just President Trump’s priorities; they are the American people’s priorities. For decades now, the American people, immigrant and U.S.-born, have asked Congress to establish a lawful immigration system that protects our country. They’ve asked for strong, secure borders, they’ve asked us to protect American security and American jobs, and they’ve asked us to have compassion, not only for those who are here illegally, but for unemployed American citizens, including millions of unemployed African American and Hispanic citizens who continue to suffer under a broken system.
The President’s DACA decision today brings us closer to a safer, fairer, and legal immigration system. Now that he has ended this unsustainable and unconstitutional program imposed by the previous administration, the President is calling on the men and women in Congress to fulfill their duty to the American people by truly reforming our immigration system for the good of all people.