Why you should care
What happens to a dream rescinded?
This is an OZY Special Briefing, an extension of the Presidential Daily Brief. The Special Briefing tells you what you need to know about an important issue, individual or story that is making news. Each one serves up an interesting selection of facts, opinions, images and videos in order to catch you up and vault you ahead.
WHY YOU SHOULD CARE
What is DACA? Short for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, DACA is a program announced by President Barack Obama in 2012 that provides so-called “dreamers” — young people brought to the United States as children by their undocumented parents — temporary protection from deportation and the opportunity to seek legal work permits. Recipients, who now number around 800,000, must have entered the U.S. before age 16, and have lived there since 2007.
What is changing? Yesterday, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced that the Trump administration will end DACA following a six-month period that allows Congress to act on the issue.
What happens to dreamers now? The average DACA recipient entered the U.S. at the age of 6 and is now 25, and for many it is the only home they have ever known. How long they can stay now remains largely an open question. Federal authorities say they will not consider new DACA applications but will allow anyone with a DACA permit expiring over the next six months to apply for a two-year renewal by October 5.
WHAT TO KNOW
Look what you made me do: President Donald Trump claims his hand was forced by a Congress unwilling to pass legislation to deal with dreamers as well as a predecessor who overstepped his authority to shield them via executive order. But the president also appears to reserve the right to handle the matter himself, tweeting, “Congress now has 6 months to legalize DACA. … If they can’t, I will revisit this issue!”
Massive backlash: Trump’s DACA decision sparked protests nationwide and drew condemnation from dreamers, lawmakers and immigration advocates, as well as prominent business executives. Microsoft’s president declared that efforts to deport the company’s dreamer employees would “have to go through us.” Obama wrote, “To target these young people is wrong.”
Congressional calculus: Prior immigration-reform efforts suggest that Congress has the numbers to pass DACA legislation, but will its leadership have the time and the will? As a steady stream of dreamers and their stories bombards the news over the coming months, Republican leaders will be placed in an awkward political position as they consider immigration reform alongside multiple competing demands, including tax reform, Hurricane Harvey relief and funding the government. But a bipartisan team of senators is pushing the DREAM Act, which could give former DACA recipients a path to citizenship as well as legal protection.
A run for the border wall? Many congressional Republicans believe that DACA may provide a key bargaining chip to get Democratic support for a down payment on Trump’s border wall. But Democrats may also be able to leverage DACA reform in return for helping Republicans raise the debt ceiling later this year.
DACA’s economic impact: Dreamers are a special subset of immigrants: They are predominantly young, working-age, tax-paying members of society who help counteract the burden of an aging population. Some researchers estimate that the absence of DACA workers would reduce U.S. gross domestic product by more than $400 billion over 10 years.
WHAT TO READ
Trump Gets DACA Right, by Rich Lowry at National Review
“Even in our divided politics, it should be a matter of consensus that the president of the United States can’t write laws on his own.”
American Dreamers, in Their Own Words, at The New York Times
“Knowing that I could lose all the freedom I’ve gained is a paralyzing fear.”
Donald Trump’s Grandfather, Upon Learning His Family Was Being Deported From Bavaria in 1905, by Friedrich Trump at Harper’s
“But we were confronted all at once, as if by a lightning strike from fair skies. … We were paralyzed with fright; our happy family life was tarnished. … Why should we be deported?”
WHAT TO WATCH
U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Why DACA Had to Go, on Politico
“We are a people of compassion, and we are a people of law. But there is nothing compassionate about the failure to enforce immigration laws.”
This Paramedic Who Rescued Harvey Victims May Be Deported, on Buzzfeed
“I was one of the early benefiters of DACA. When it came along, it changed everything and it gave me that feeling of belonging.”
WHAT TO SAY AT THE WATERCOOLER
Some legal scholars argue that deporting dreamers may constitute entrapment. Dreamers provided the government with potentially incriminating information about their immigration status in their DACA applications, and courts typically throw out convictions obtained against defendants with information they provided to authorities with the understanding it would not later be used against them.