WASHINGTON — President Trump has not fulfilled his campaign trail promise to immediately end President Obama’s executive amnesty for illegal immigrants, and an estimated 36,000 illegal immigrants have received amnesty since he took office.
Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) was started by President Obama in 2012 and allows for illegal immigrants who have been in the U.S. since 2007 and arrived under the age of 16 to receive work permits, access to welfare, and protection from deportation. More than 750,000 illegal immigrants are covered by the policy.
Obama also launched Deferred Action for Parents of Americans (DAPA), which is an amnesty for illegal immigrant parents of American citizen children, however, this has been blocked from implementation by court decisions.
President Trump said during an August speech in Phoenix that he will “immediately terminate” Obama’s “illegal executive amnesties,” but he has yet to do so. Ending DACA would be as simple as signing an executive order or calling up United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and telling them to stop accepting DACA applications.
USCIS is still accepting applications and renewals. During Fiscal Year 2016, USCIS approved an average 761 DACA applications and renewals a day, according to government figures. President Trump has been in office for 48 work days as of Wednesday, and thus an estimated 36,528 illegal immigrants have received DACA from his administration.
Since taking office, Trump has taken a softer tone regarding the policy, and said during a press conference, “DACA is a very, very difficult subject for me.” BuzzFeed also reported that President Trump never wanted to end DACA and that his chief strategist Steve Bannon, who is viewed as an immigration hard-liner, encouraged Trump to not end the program.
The Daily Caller spoke to congressional Republicans who oppose amnesty Tuesday, and they didn’t seem too bothered by Trump’s actions so far.
“I think he’s been pretty busy in his first two months. I don’t think there’s any question he’s going to do everything he said he was going to do in the campaign,” Pennsylvania Republican Rep. Lou Barletta told TheDC. Barletta, an early Trump supporter who is known for being tough on immigration, said that agencies are “still staffing up,” and that no one “should question whether he will keep his campaign promises, he’s passed that test.”
Ohio Rep. Warren Davidson, a member of the House Freedom Caucus, “wholeheartedly” opposes amnesty, but told TheDC he isn’t worried that Trump has not yet rescinded DACA. “I think he’s taking a bigger view than DACA as a narrow issue,” Davidson said.
The Republican congressman said that he believes DACA “will hang out there,” and that it will have to be addressed through the legislative process. Davidson said that Republicans opposed Obama’s amnesty as they believed he didn’t have the right to act unilaterally on immigration, and that “it shouldn’t change because there is someone different in the White House.”
While Trump hasn’t moved on deporting DREAMers, liberal immigration advocates have been cautious to cheer this decision. Two pro-DACA groups declined to comment to TheDC about their feelings on this, and Democratic Texas Rep. Joaquin Castro told BuzzFeed, “Whether [Trump’s deportations] amounts to removing 9 or 10 million people, it’s an incredible amount of people. They’re going to tear families apart and create fear in communities that’s going to hurt the economies of a lot of American cities.”