I don’t think we have commented yet on President Trump’s decision to continue, for now, President Obama’s amnesty program (known as DACA) for illegal immigrants who came to the United States as small children. On Thursday evening, the Trump administration announced that the so-called Dreamers will still have legal status and be able to receive work permits, renewable every two years, assuming they satisfy certain minimal conditions.
On Friday, however, it stated that no final determination has been made as to whether this amnesty shall be permanent. The purpose of the Thursday announcement, the administration explained, was to clarify that immigrants enrolled in the DACA program would not immediately be affected by a separate action that officially ended a similar program — DAPA — for illegal immigrants whose children are citizens or legal permanent residents. The judiciary had blocked DAPA; Trump put it out of its misery.
Trump’s campaign rhetoric notwithstanding, he clearly sympathizes with “Dreamers” and wants them to have amnesty — or so it seems. By keeping open the possibility of ending DACA, though, he preserves his bargaining power — i.e., his ability, perhaps, to get something from Democrats in exchange for a final decision to retain DACA.
I’m opposed to DACA because it signals to potential illegal immigrants that their young children eventually might well receive amnesty, thus providing the parents with an additional incentive to come to the U.S. illegally. However, I understand that the “Dreamers” scarcely know any home other than America and sympathize with the humanitarian argument for permitting them to remain and work here.
Thus, I don’t strenuously object to DACA.
However, candidate Trump promised in no uncertain terms to end the program. He has not done so; nor has he agreed to do so in the future. Thus, those who strenuously object to DACA have a right to be upset, unless they took Trump “seriously,” rather than “literally.”