Uncertain future for DACA students: Will Congress act?

(Part II in a series)

President Donald Trump is reassuring immigrants who benefit from the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program that no immediate action will be taken following his announcement via Attorney General Jeff Sessions that he’s rescinding the program. Trump tweeted his comments at the urging of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.

The president tweeted Thursday, “For all of those (DACA) that are concerned about your status during the six month period, you have nothing to worry about - No action!”

Fifteen states and the District of Columbia filed a federal lawsuit to block the president’s plan to eliminate DACA.

Quoting the lawsuit as reported by The Associated Press, “Ending DACA, whose participants are mostly of Mexican origin, is a culmination of President’s Trump’s oft-stated commitments — whether personally held, stated to appease some portion of his constituency, or some combination thereof — to punish and disparage people with Mexican roots.”

Trump’s actions earlier in the year regarding the banning of Muslims from certain countries was also challenged in the courts. The whole situation seems to be a constitutional conundrum.

 A family demonstrating in favor of DACA on Sept. 5.

A family demonstrating in favor of DACA on Sept. 5.

Political science professor Patrick Moore questions how Trump can claim executive authority in one situation, while denying it in the other.

“If it’s President Trump’s position that the president does not have the constitutional authority to implement DACA, Trump will no more have that authority than Obama did, and will no more have it in six months than he has now,” said Moore. “In fact, if he believes the program is unconstitutional, as he claims, he shouldn’t even be able to continue the program for six months on humanitarian grounds or, as he says, to give Congress time to act.”

The Department of Homeland Security released details on how DACA is to be phased out over the next six months. First, it cut off any possibility for any would-be applicants who have not been part of the DACA program.

Second, it made clear that DACA holders whose authorizations expire beginning March 6, 2018 are no longer eligible for a two-year renewal.

Third, those individuals whose authorizations expire prior to March 5, 2018 must submit their renewal applications no later than Oct. 5, 2017.

Richland will host a panel of experts to discuss the latest on DACA at the “Know Your Rights!” town hall forum, Tuesday, Sept. 12 at noon, in Crockett Hall, Room 140. The meeting will be streamed live at www.RichlandStudentMedia.com and will be available as a podcast on the website afterwards.