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Trump Administration Announces End of Obama-Era Immigration Program

September 15, 2017

Lily Guillen / The Courier

A key part of the Obama administration’s policy legacy is being rolled back, according to Attorney General Jeff Sessions in a brief press conference on September 5th. Sessions announced the Trump Administration’s intent to “rescind” the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, more colloquially known as DACA. The program, created by the Obama administration in 2012 after efforts to pass the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act stalled, intended to provide legal protections for the children of undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States at a young age. The program is estimated to include 740,000 childhood arrivers, termed “Dreamers” by politicians and activists. Sessions, during a press conference in which he did not take any questions, said the program will be phased out over the course of a 6-month period, basically giving Congress a deadline by which to have a replacement lined up and passed. Though Sessions argued that the bill “essentially provided a legal status for recipients,” the Obama Administration noted in 2016 that the bill simply redirected immigration enforcement elsewhere.

The move to rescind DACA matches the Trump Administration’s established attitude on undocumented immigration. Sessions’ announcement cited a long-held talking point of the Trump campaign and Presidency that undocumented immigrants take jobs from Americans and contribute to violence, a claim that data does not support. Trump, in particular, has been harsh to undocumented immigrants, making anti-immigrant sentiments one of the focuses of his campaign from the moment he announced his candidacy. While the Trump administration turns its eyes to funding a wall along the southern border, rescinding DACA has been touted as a legislative win in the wake of brutal defeats on the repeal of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and the original draft of the administration’s travel ban.

For the recipients of the program, however, the decision represents a shift away from participation in American life, one that requires institutional support. In the aftermath of the announcement to end DACA, colleges and universities have found themselves needing to respond to the concerns of students, including at Monmouth. President Clarence Wyatt, in an email sent to the student body, wrote, “We will continue to support all of our students, including those affected by DACA, as they pursue their educations at Monmouth College.” Through a statement prepared by students and faculty, the college reiterated that it will abide by regulations and college policy in order to protect the identity and safety of undocumented students, including those who applied and were not granted admission.

While Congress grapples with the specifics of a replacement program, be it from a new bill or the original DREAM Act, undocumented childhood arrivals grapple with the extent to which they remain vocal about their immigration status. Regardless of the future of DACA, the immigration conversation dramatically changed for everyone involved the moment Jeff Sessions took the stage.

Anthony Adams
Political Editor

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