Donald Trump‘s statement that DACA is “working right now” was met with criticism as his administration has rejected new applications to the program and he’s attempted to end it completely. During a town hall meeting in Miami moderated by NBC’s Savannah Guthrie, Trump said the pandemic was the reason for changes to the program which launched during the Obama administration in 2012. This is factually incorrect as he’s been working on terminating the program since 2017, his first year in office. When Guthrie asked if he’d continue the program if he’s re-elected he said Dreamers would be taken care of.
“We are going to take care of DACA. We are going to take care of Dreamer(s). It’s working right now, we are negotiating different aspects of immigration and immigration law,” Trump said. “But we are working very hard on the DACA program, and you will be, I think, very happy over the course of the next year because I feel the same way as you do about it.”
The program is specifically for undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as children, it requires that they were under 31 years of age on June 15, 2012. They also had to have lived continuously in the United States since June 15, 2007. These factors are necessary to understand why his excuse that the pandemic affected the program is incorrect after Guthrie explained that no new applicants have been accepted under his administration and renewal is now annual versus every two years.
“Because of the pandemic, much changed on the immigration front, Mexico is heavily infected, as you know, and we’ve made it very, very difficult to come in because of the pandemic and other reasons and crime, but we have a very strong border right now, and we have to keep it that way. But we want people to come into our country but they have to come in through a merit system and they have to come in legally,” he said.
Since Trump announced DACA was ending, several lawsuits were filed against the administration for unlawful termination. Three nationwide injunctions issued by U.S. district courts — in California, New York, and the District of Columbia — have allowed people who have previously had DACA to renew their deferred action.
“The Trump administration is no friend of immigrants, including DACA recipients. For four years we have fought back on this administration’s relentless attacks on immigrants and their families. NILC’S courageous plaintiffs beat Donald Trump on DACA at the Supreme Court this year, and we are in court again fighting his ongoing efforts to end DACA. We will be back in court next week defending the rights of immigrant youth across this country so they have the freedom to stay here with their loved ones in the country that is their home,” National Immigration Law Center Executive Director Marielena Hincapié said in a statement.
About 644,000 people were protected by DACA as of March 31, 2020, according to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. In June 2020 the Supreme Court overturned the Trump administration’s termination of the program citing that it had been done in an “arbitrary and capricious manner.” Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden has pledged to work to make DACA permanent on his first day as president.
“The Supreme Court’s ruling today is a victory made possible by the courage and resilience of hundreds of thousands of DACA recipients who bravely stood up and refused to be ignored. As President, I will immediately work to make it permanent by sending a bill to Congress on day one of my Administration,” Biden said after the high court’s ruling.