One year ago today, President Donald Trump called for the end of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which deferred the deportation of undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States as children — known as Dreamers.
For years now, Dreamers have been living their lives with uncertainty. Without Congressional action in the last year, their concerns have only grown. How is it possible to plan for a future when you are at risk of deportation? How is it possible to start a business or get married when you don’t know what your future holds?
Without action from Congress, the question has been left in the hands of the courts – with predictably inconsistent rulings.
On Aug. 31, District Court Judge Andrew Hanen of the Southern District of Texas temporarily declined to order an end to DACA after Texas and other states challenged the program’s legality. DACA was enacted via an executive order by then-President Barack Obama.
A few weeks earlier, Judge John Bates of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia had ruled that the Trump administration must restart DACA in full – to include new and renewal applications. Though, Judge Bates on August 17th would later go on to modify his earlier ruling and clarify that the government does not, after all, have to begin accepting new DACA applications, but must continue accepting renewals.
Lawsuit after lawsuit has yielded no solution – because immigration is too complex a question for courts to solve alone. All it has done is created a web of inconsistent decisions, and Dreamers are caught in the middle.
A real solution can only be found in Congress — not through the courts, not through executive action. A permanent solution that addresses concerns from all sides can only result from the legislative process.
Dreamers are teachers, firefighters, workers, and men and women in our armed services. Communities across the country are suffering because of Congressional inaction.