President Trump is expected to announce an end to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program. We break down what DACA is and what it could mean for thousands of immigrants.
WASHINGTON — If President Trump gives Congress six months to find a legislative fix for the controversial program that now shields nearly 800,000 young undocumented immigrants from deportation, the focus will shift to a politically charged fight on Capitol Hill where agreement on anything — especially on the radioactive issue of immigration — remains elusive.
The Trump administration is expected to announce the fate of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program — known as DACA — Tuesday as the president was considering kicking the Obama administration program to lawmakers rather than declaring an immediate end to the protections.
While the White House has cautioned that no final decision on DACA had been made, a possible six-month reprieve would only add to an already-heavy legislative calendar. Congress is set to begin discussions on an overhaul of the tax system, while a vote looms on raising the federal debt limit.
Lawmakers who return to Washington Tuesday after their August recess also must decide how to structure a massive relief package to aid victims of Hurricane Harvey, which swamped much of the Texas Gulf region.
Frank Sharry, executive director of America’s Voice, a group that advocates for immigrants, said legislators have never been able to pass legislation to assist young immigrants, also known as “dreamers,” even in more favorable political environments. And he saw no reason to believe that the current Congress, which has been unable to coalesce around a repeal of the Affordable Care Act, could somehow come together to pass any version of the DREAM Act.
“From a political point of view, a decision to kill DACA would be a blunder of historic proportions,” Sharry said. “It will overwhelm (Congress’) fall agenda. There will be a lot of pressure on Republicans to clean up the mess made by the administration.”
Two decades of struggle
Congress has struggled — unsuccessfully — for nearly 20 years to deal with the plight of young immigrants brought to the country by their parents.
In 2010, a proposal that would have provided a path to citizenship for young illegals on the condition that they enrolled in college or…