In a Twitter post Sunday morning, United States President Donald Trump downplayed the possibility of a deal with congressional Democrats on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA. The tweet read: “DACA is probably dead because the Democrats don’t really want it, they just want to talk and take desperately needed money away from our Military.”
The day before, Trump made two separate tweets attacking members of the Democratic Party for their apparent lack of action on the program, saying “The Democrats are all talk and no action. They are doing nothing to fix DACA. Great opportunity missed. Too bad!”, and “I don’t believe the Democrats really want to see a deal on DACA. They are all talk and no action. This is the time but, day by day, they are blowing the one great opportunity they have. Too bad!”
The DACA program was enacted in June 2012 by President Barack Obama. The policy allowed for certain undocumented immigrants, who had arrived in the country as children, to be eligible for a two-year protection from deportation and to get a work permit. There were many pre-conditions the undocumented immigrants needed to meet in order to become enrolled in DACA, including having entered the U.S. before they were 16 (and be younger than 31), be enrolled in school, hold a degree, or be in the military, and having a clean criminal record.
Research conducted into DACA showed the program benefitted immigrants’ incomes and mental health. DACA also reduced the number of undocumented immigrants in poverty, has no negative effect on employment for native-born Americans, and a majority of economists have found DACA to have either positive or no effect on the overall economy. In fact, in a statement to CNBC, CATO Institute Fellow Ike Brannon stated that ending the program could cost the federal government “about $60 billion over the next 10 years and the overall economic impact would be a little over $200 billion.”
However, Trump did just that, ending the program in September 2017. Trump had promised to repeal the policy during his run for the Oval Office. In June 2017, the Department of Homeland Security repealed an executive order from the Obama administration that expanded DACA, and in September, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the end of the policy.
15 states have filed a lawsuit against the Trump administration in response to the repeal. A District Court in the state of California ruled in January to block the repeal, leading to more of a legislative stand-off over the policy.