President Donald Trump decided to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, the latest in a long line of decisions made only to spite President Barack Obama and his accomplishments. There are implications for Georgia.
The program was created by the Obama administration in 2013 in order to protect hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrants brought to the United States as children, often referred to as DREAMers. DACA was the direct result of inaction on the DREAM Act, legislation which has existed since 2001 and would offer the same protections as DACA, but has been unable to make its way out of Congress. As a result, President Obama took the initiative to protect vulnerable young people living in this county, many of whom has never known a home but the United States.
Trump has undone that decision, giving Congress only six months to come up with a solution before America’s DREAMers are forced from the country. However, after failing to pass the DREAM Act for 16 years and the inability of the Republican controlled government to pass a single piece of major legislation since Trump took office, there is little chance that DACA will take precedence over the GOP agenda. The thin veneer of mercy with which Trump has tried to defend his decision is both meaningless and insulting to the country.
He could still take action, of course, with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi indicating he may have done just that. The pair announced recently that Trump agreed to get behind the DREAM Act – a stunning move that shocked both his supporters and detractors. Could Trump the dealmaker finally be making an appearance 8 months into his administration?
As it turns out, that was not the case. Trump quickly rebutted the announcement on Twitter, suggesting that no agreement was made on keeping DREAMers in the country. It is possible he made a verbal agreement and changed his mind, or perhaps he was simply lying to Democratic leaders in a weak attempt to embarrass them later. He may also be making a public denial until he decides to announce it on his own terms to try and reap the credit. His record makes it clear that any of these dishonest options are plausible.
None are acceptable. In Georgia alone, there are 23,000 DREAMers who are contributing to the economy, their communities, and this country. They are here by no fault of their own and should not be punished for the crimes of their parents. They give far more than they take – they pay taxes, they pay a fee for their protection, and they work damn hard for the opportunities they have here. They do not take them for granted, which is reflected in their drive and ambition. The State of Georgia and the country would be worse off without them here.
Trump needs to act swiftly and morally to protect these people. Kicking 800,000 people out of this country would send a message to the world that the United States has become a cruel, short-sighted country – a message which does not need any more reinforcement lately. Trump has an opportunity to do the right thing here. He only need reach out and seize it.