Changes to United States immigration policy were central to Donald Trump’s presidential campaign. And if developments in the weeks following the election are any indication, he intends to make them a cornerstone of his presidency. Trump’s campaign trail rhetoric promised a crackdown on immigration, but it was short on specifics. Since his election, certain of his spokespeople have walked back some of his hard-line language, while Trump himself has been less circumspect and has chosen close policy advisors with documented anti-immigrant agendas.
On the day of Trump’s inauguration, here are four of the president-elect’s policy proposals, the rhetoric on these issues coming from Trump and those close to him, and the realities of implementing his proposed policy changes.
Ending Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals
Trump made one of the rallying cries of his campaign a pledge to rescind Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), telling Meet the Press in August 2016 that if he is elected, “[t]he executive order gets rescinded” and DREAMers “have to go.” In rescinding DACA, Trump would be undoing the exercise of prosecutorial discretion that President Obama extended to DREAMers: successful, undocumented young people who were brought to the United States by their parents as children. These young adults are, but for their undocumented status, emblematic of the American dream—though their immigration status had, until Obama’s announcement in 2012, prevented them in many cases from attending college or enlisting in the military. As of June 30, 2016, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, the immigration benefits agency, had approved close to 750,000 DACA applications.
As easily as President Obama used executive action to grant DACA, Trump could, in fact, undo it. Indeed, DACA is not a matter of right, but of discretion and executive authority. Trump’s power to revoke it is clear, but what remains less certain, is how far he will go and on what timeline.
By Sarah Sherman-Stokes for BU TODAY
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