When then-candidate Donald Trump was running for office, he promised to overturn former President Barack Obama’s 2012 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals “amnesty” program, but post-election, President Trump seemed to be backing off from that promise, suggesting that DACA enrollees had nothing to fear.
However, some of the estimated 800,000 illegal immigrants — USA Today suggests potentially as many as 2.1 million — who were brought into the country as children and were enrolled in Obama’s program may be on the verge of panic now. Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly just informed members of Congress that the administration may not defend the controversial program from future legal challenges, according to The Washington Post.
Speaking in a closed-door meeting with members of the predominately Democrat Congressional Hispanic Caucus, Kelly informed them that if they wanted to ensure the amnesty program survived, they’d have to engage with Republicans in a bipartisan compromise immigration bill to protect the illegals legislatively.
“This is what he’s being told by different attorneys, that if it goes to court it might not survive,” DHS spokesman David Lapan said regarding Kelly’s remarks. Should Congress not pass a bill protecting the program, “they’re leaving it in the hands of the courts to make a decision.”
That was simply too much for a “visibly shaken” Illinois Rep. Luis Gutierrez, who dramatically proclaimed in both English and Spanish of the attorney general, “Jeff Sessions is going to say, ‘Deport them.’ If you’re going to count on Jeff Sessions to save DACA, then DACA is ended.”
“It’s not a pretty picture,” New Jersey Sen. Bob Menendez told reporters, according to Politico. “The legal authorities that he’s spoken to suggest that DACA cannot be sustained legally. We have a different view.”
Kelly told the congressional members that, despite his own personal support for the program and Trump’s prior statements placing DACA enrollees at ease, an impending legal challenge by Texas and nine other Republican-led states would likely prevail in court and bring an end to the amnesty program, leaving it up to Congress to save the program.
While there are no doubt plenty of innocent people enrolled in the program who were brought to the country illegally as a child through no choice of their own — people Congress should figure out how to deal with humanely — some illegals have abused the program and many criminals and gang members have been protected by their “DREAMer” status.
In fact, Breitbart reported that since DACA was first rolled out, more than 1,500 of those enrolled have seen their status revoked due to gang affiliations or other criminal activities. Furthermore, several gang members caught in a recent roundup were found to have illegally entered the country as minors, and were potentially eligible for enrolling in the program.
Common sense and past experience suggests that the real number of illegals enrolled in DACA and involved in criminal or gang activity is much, much higher than just those who have been caught.
Obama never should have implemented DACA via executive action, and only did so because Congress had reached an impasse on a compromise. If Congress wants Obama’s amnesty program to remain intact and in effect, they better get to work crafting legislation that says as much, because as it stands right now, the program won’t hold up under legal challenge and the Trump administration won’t be wasting time defending it.