President Donald Trump and his team keep rolling out more antagonistic immigration policy proposals — and they keep running into roadblocks. This week, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals in Virginia ruled against their declared end to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals or DACA program, which protects undocumented immigrants who arrived in the United States as children and young teens.
The court found that the administration’s axing was “arbitrary and capricious” and “not adequately explained,” explaining that the Trump administration “did not identify any statutory provision with which the DACA policy conflicts,” despite their wide-ranging claims that it’s illegal. Then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions argued that a court order against the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans or DAPA program provided grounds for the administration’s dismissal of DACA — but the Fourth Circuit pointed out that quite simply, they’re two separate programs, despite similarities.
This ruling is the second similar one from a court of appeals after the Ninth Circuit did the same, but the status of DACA and those it protects isn’t decided yet. The U.S. Supreme Court — which leans conservative at present and has sided with the president on immigration in the past — is currently considering whether to hear a number of cases brought over the attempted end of the program, which the Trump administration has long been urging them to do, even before the relevant lower-level appeals courts heard the case. At present, the National Immigration Law Center explains, the administration is required to keep the program going for those already protected under it thanks to rulings from federal district courts in California, New York, and the District of Columbia, but they’re not accepting new applications to become a part.
The Trump administration is still rolling out plans to seemingly erase the program even as their 2017 attempt at cutting it away continues to lag. In the admittedly vague new platform that the president himself trotted out with a speech this Thursday, the DACA program isn’t even mentioned, suggesting that it’s not anywhere near the priority list for the Trump administration to keep protections in place for the hundreds of thousands of people the program provides for.
In the past, they have dangled continued protections in an attempt to get Democrats to exchange support for drastic border “security” proposals like Trump’s long-sought border wall, but the left didn’t bite, at least not long enough for it to stick, even though the president’s team might be preparing to roll out that strategy again.
Trump has long issued wide-ranging claims of undocumented immigrants posing some kind of special threat to the United States supposedly warranting his endlessly harsh approach, but there’s a glaring lack of data to back him up. Crime rates among undocumented immigrants are lower than those of native-born Americans, and crime rates among the majority of border counties have been lower in recent years than comparable inland jurisdictions. Trump has suggested that criminal activity associated with undocumented immigrants goes unreported, but the only tangible basis he has for singling these people out is their race.
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