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18 June 2017, 02:11 | Cesar Cruz
Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington. Associated Press file
JOEL ROSE, BYLINE: Well, first of all, the Trump administration officially killed an Obama-era program that was meant to protect the parents of USA citizens and legal residents even if those parents were themselves living in the country illegally.
Kelly's memo withdrawing DAPA referenced the program's tortured legal history, claiming that the Department of Homeland Security was "rescinding the November 20, 2014 memorandum that created the program [DAPA] ... because there is no credible path forward to litigate the now enjoined policy". In other words, on the fifth anniversary of the DACA program, which protects undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as young children from deportation, the Trump administration announced that it will not end the program-for now.
During his presidential campaign, Trump called both programs "illegal executive amnesties" that circumvented Congress. Many participants, often referred to as "dreamers", arrived in the United States as small children and have little recollection of their birth countries.
The White House and the Department of Homeland Security have been emphasizing that this is not a permanent decision, and that president could still change his mind and revoke that program, too. At a rally last summer, Trump vowed to "immediately terminate" the program, saying that President Barack Obama had "defied federal law and the Constitution".
That statement "shows much more clearly the kind of stance the administration is taking toward the immigrant community", Bortolleto said. Since his election he has softened his tone and said he would deal with DACA "with heart, " without pledging to continue it. But if DACA is ended, the status that allows them back into the United States might expire as well, immigration experts have warned. Such legislation has not materialized.
The DACA program provides temporary deportation relief and work permits for those who were brought to the United States as children, have a clean record and undergo a background check. The protections are revocable at any time if an immigrant runs afoul of the law or becomes a threat to public safety or national security.
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"Today's action by President Trump acknowledges the economic contributions that undocumented immigrants, like us, make, and will continue to make, to the country", said Jordan Mazariegos, president of the advocacy group DREAM Act Oklahoma. Arrests of immigrants inside the USA have increased under the Trump administration, but deportations are slightly down as fewer people have been caught crossing the Mexican border into the United States illegally. About 17,000 Oklahoma youths are eligible under DACA, and the federal government has accepted 7,488 applications, according to the Migration Policy Institute.
"I was anxious that President Trump was going to drop DACA while I was in Mexico and that I might not be able to return", Mr. Rivas said.
Senator Tom Carper, D-Del., said keeping DACA in place was "common decency" and expressed relief that the dreamers "now have the certainty they deserve".
For thousands of Oklahoma residents enrolled in DACA, the continuation of the program marks a positive step.
"DAPA would have - based on some of the numbers i've seen - benefited about 3.7 million individuals in the US who are undocumented", he said.
"Right now it's OK, but what can happen in the future?"
She said being a student with DACA was like "being in limbo". But around the same time, Vox published a leaked draft executive order in which the president proposed to end the DACA program and block the renewal of work permits for existing recipients once they expired. His move to do so was largely symbolic.
The announcement was made when similar Obama administration's program, Deferred Action for Parents of American was cancelled by the Trump administration.
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