On Tuesday, September 5, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the Trump Administration’s decision to rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) during a press briefing at the Department of Justice in Washington, D.C. DACA is an American immigration policy initiated by the Obama administration in June 2012. DACA allows certain illegal immigrants who entered the country as minors, to receive a renewable two-year period of deferred action from deportation and eligibility for a work permit. 800,000 people rely on DACA to provide legal documentation to support their families, and nearly 25% live in California. Half the DACA recipients were only 6 years old when they enrolled in the program.
During the press briefing, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced, “The executive branch through DACA, deliberately sought to achieve what the legislative branch specifically refused to authorize on multiple occasions. Such an open-ended circumvention of immigration laws was an unconstitutional exercise of authority by the executive branch.” The decision resulted from a threatening letter signed by the Attorney General of Texas, Ken Paxton, and nine other states urging the Trump administration to challenge DACA in court this fall, claiming the program was created unconstitutionally. The attorneys general of Arkansas, Alabama, Idaho, Kansas, Louisiana, Nebraska, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and West Virginia signed the letter back in June. Unwilling to battle the legitimacy in Court, the Trump Administration decided the best decision would be to end DACA. Without offering any insight or sign of focus on the subject, President Trump tweets “ Congress, get ready to do your job – DACA!” at 5 a.m., a few hours before Attorney General Sessions made the announcement.
President Trump may have given up, but that doesn’t mean everyone else has. More and more people are fighting for DACA and immigration law improvement. Protesters took to the streets in Los Angeles, Chicago, NYC and Washington D.C. San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo will “use available resources to battle in a lawsuit.”
This issue will hit us hard at home as Chabot is a safe haven for students whose immigration status is illegal. I spoke with English and Puente Professor Ms. Kirtsin Land about what DACA recipients can do. She said “DACA recipients should take good care of themselves and their loved ones in these difficult times. I encourage non-DACA students to stand up in solidarity with all undocumented people by getting informed and contacting local representatives, too. Chabot has an excellent web resource that can provide the next steps for DACA recipients who may wish to renew their applications before the October 5 deadline. There will also be other support services posted on that website.”
Students expressed their concern and gathered in solidarity in the grand courtyard here at Chabot College the same day as the announcement. Alexander Reid said, “this has to be a smoke screen for other things Trump is doing. It’s disgusting how he can affect the lives of people who have done nothing wrong.” The Trump administration’s choice to phase out DACA is going to be a constant battle with many believing that his cause is unjust.