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January 17, 2018

On Tuesday, the Justice Department said it would take the unusual step of asking the Supreme Court to step in and overturn U.S. District Judge William Alsup's ruling blocking President Trump's decision to wind down the Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals (DACA) immigration program, bypassing the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. "It defies both law and common sense" that a "single district court in San Francisco" can halt Trump's plan, Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in a statement. "We are now taking the rare step of requesting direct review on the merits of this injunction by the Supreme Court so that this issue may be resolved quickly and fairly for all the parties involved."

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra (D), who filed one of the federal lawsuits that led to Alsup's injunction, said he was confident that higher courts will uphold the decision to block "the unlawful action by the Trump administration to terminate DACA." The fate of the roughly 700,000 DREAMers covered by DACA is a central sticking point in negotiations to fund the federal government. The Justice Department isn't requesting a stay of Alsup's ruling, The Washington Post notes, and as soon as it files its petition with the Supreme Court, the justices can take the case or wait for the 9th Circuit appellate court to weigh in first, as would normally happen. Peter Weber

January 14, 2018
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In compliance with a Tuesday order from a federal judge, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced Saturday it will resume accepting applications for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), which shields from deportation immigrants illegally brought to the United States as children.

Though DHS said "the DACA policy will be operated on the terms in place before it was rescinded on Sept. 5, 2017," the agency also noted no new applications will be processed; only previous DACA recipients, also called DREAMers, will be permitted to renew their status.

The Trump administration has been negotiating a DACA deal with congressional Democrats, but those talks stalled this week after President Trump reportedly disparaged Haiti, El Salvador, and African nations at an immigration meeting Thursday. "DACA is probably dead because the Democrats don't really want it," Trump tweeted Sunday, "they just want to talk and take desperately needed money away from our Military." Bonnie Kristian

January 9, 2018
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On Tuesday night, a federal judge in San Francisco temporarily suspended President Trump's move to phase out the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which grants residency and work authorization to non-citizens who were brought to the U.S. illegally as children. U.S. District Judge William Alsup agreed to a request from California, the University of California system, and three other plaintiffs to require the Trump administration to continue accepting and processing DACA renewal applications while their lawsuits were being litigated. Attorney General Jeff Sessions' conclusion that DACA was illegal appeared to be "based on a flawed legal premise," Alsup wrote.

Under the ruling, the Trump administration does not have to accept new applications for DACA status but does have to renew the status of the 800,000 people already in the program. The Trump administration will likely appeal the ruling. It is unclear how Alsup's decision will affect ongoing budget negotiations between Congress and the White House, where Democrats are demanding legislation to protect so-called DREAMers as part of a spending deal. Peter Weber

October 13, 2017
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President Trump's March 5 deadline for ending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA) immigration program isn't etched in stone, and Trump says he's willing to "give it some more time" if Congress doesn't step in to help the DREAMers first, Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.) said outside a town hall event in Tulsa on Thursday night. "The president's comment to me," he said, "was that, 'We put a six-month deadline out there. Let's work it out. If we can't get it worked out in six months, we'll give it some more time, but we've got to get this worked out legislatively.'" A Lankford spokesman tells The Washington Post that Trump made the comments in a phone call with the senator last month.

Democrats and some Republicans are pushing for a vote on the DREAM Act, and Lankford is offering a more conservative alternative called the SUCCEED Act that offers young undocumented immigrants a 15-year path to citizenship but bars them from pulling their parents along. "I think we'll be actually voting on something like this in January or February," Lankford said. "These are kids that have grown up here. I'm not interested in deporting them and kicking them out. But I'm also not interested in them ending up in a limbo status on this." A bipartisan deal looked plausible until Trump released a list of hardline demands on Sunday night. Peter Weber

October 5, 2017
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Thursday marks the final day for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) status renewal requests as the Trump administration moves to "wind down" the Obama-era program that grants work permits to young immigrants brought into America illegally as children. Of the 154,000 people whose status will expire between Sept. 5, 2017 and March 5, 2018, more than 106,000 have submitted requests or had their renewals adjudicated, ABC News reports. The Department of Homeland Security reports that around 48,000 eligible immigrants have not sought to renew their status.

DACA serves approximately 700,000 "DREAMers" around the country, including many who grew up in America and have no memory of their countries of birth. "I can definitely work back in Morocco with an American degree in computer science," Achraf Jellal, who moved to New York when he was 4, told NPR's Morning Edition. "But I've never been there. I don't know any of my family, actually."

The Trump administration has passed off a DACA decision to Congress, although if there is no action in the next five months, recipients will lose benefits beginning March 6, 2018. "We cannot admit everyone who would like to come here. It's just that simple," Attorney General Jeff Sessions said when announcing the Trump administration's decision earlier this year. Jeva Lange

September 6, 2017

Democrats and Republicans alike issued statements Tuesday criticizing the Trump administration's handling of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program after Attorney General Jeff Sessions' announcement that the Obama-era policy would be rescinded. On Wednesday, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) expressed a slightly different opinion: "I think the president made the right decision by giving [Congress] six months," he told Today.

As Graham explained, "the compassionate thing to do is to give these kids legal status, let them become citizens," further noting, as many have, that "they lived their life in America. They would add great value to our country." But Graham added that "in terms of the law, 10 attorney generals filed a lawsuit today suggesting that DACA was unconstitutional. They were going to win in court."

Others have nevertheless been critical of Trump's handling of DACA, with The Washington Post writing that the president "has temporarily placed the fates of roughly 800,000 undocumented immigrants brought to the United States as children in the hands of Congress, buying himself time and shunting responsibility."

At The Week, Damon Linker remains skeptical that Congress will save DACA. "Despite an overwhelming majority of the country favoring such a compromise, Congress has repeatedly failed to act," he writes. Read more on the democratic dysfunction here. Jeva Lange

September 5, 2017

Democrats and Republicans alike reacted Tuesday to the Trump administration's official announcement that the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which protects individuals who were brought to the U.S. illegally as children, is being rescinded. "The president has revealed he is as heartless as he is uninformed," said Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) while Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) added: "I strongly believe that children who were illegally brought into this country through no fault of their own should not be forced to return to a country they do not know."

John Cornyn (R-Texas) said that DREAMers — so named after the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act — "continue to make positive contributions to Texas and the nation," while Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) called it "simply wrong to needlessly target hardworking young adults in order to score political points."

Many other lawmakers and organizations went on record with criticism of the administration's decision:

Javier Palomarez, the head of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, resigned from Trump's National Diversity Council in response to the administration's decision, CNN reports. "We're dealing with a president that gave his word, that promised that he would take care of these 800,000 young people," Palomarez said earlier Tuesday. "If he gets rid of DACA, he's showing that he is a liar." Jeva Lange

September 5, 2017

Attorney General Jeff Sessions officially announced Tuesday that the Trump administration will "rescind" Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, an Obama-era program that grants work permits to young immigrants brought into America illegally as children and currently benefits roughly 800,000 individuals.

"Societies where the rule of law is subject to political whims and personal biases tend to become societies afflicted by corruption, poverty, and human suffering," Sessions said in his remarks, adding that "the compassionate thing is to end lawlessness, enforce our laws, and if Congress chooses to make changes to those laws, to do so through the process set forth by our Founders in a way that advances the interest of the nation."

Sessions added that "we are a people of compassion and a people of law. ... Nothing is compassionate about the failure to enforce immigration laws."

Trump told reporters Friday that "we love the DREAMers, we think the DREAMers are terrific," referring to the individuals protected by the DREAM Act. But Trump reportedly struggled with the decision to end the program and asked his aides for a "way out" of the corner he backed himself into on the campaign trail by promising to end it, The New York Times reports. Even many Republicans have signaled wanting a softer approach to DACA than what Sessions outlined.

"Enforcing the law saves lives, protects communities and taxpayers, and prevents human suffering," Sessions said. "Failure to enforce the laws in the past has put our nation at risk of crime, violence, and even terrorism." Watch below. Jeva Lange

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