A major deadline is here. Today was supposed to mark the end of an Obama-era executive action, one that allowed young undocumented immigrants to work and study without fear of deportation. But President Trump’s deadline on the program is stalled in courts.
DACA's March 5 'deadline' marks only inaction
Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals— or DACA— protects 700,000 people against deportation. Its scheduled demise was even the focal point of a government shutdown in January. But does today’s deadline actually mean anything?
Six months since President Trump announced he’d rescind DACA, the fate of dreamers still remains uncertain. There’s no legislative progress in Congress and two federal judges blocked DACA from ending.
“It’s a small victory, it continues to be a bandage," said immigration activist Pamela Gomez, "We’re fighting for a permanent solution.”
Many of the Bay Area undocumented youth we’ve spoken with in the past are marching today in D.C. for exactly that. While Gomez is an immigration activist and part of The Florida Immigrant Coalition she is not a DACA recipient.
“They’re feeling that the government has failed them," she said, "There were bipartisan solutions presented two times, three times that didn’t happen.”
“The press and the democrats are using ‘children’ as a focal point to get sympathy from the American people," said Dan Schramek. He is former co-founder of the Hillsborough County Trump Campaign.
He believes ending DACA is the right move to strengthen our immigration policy. He feels the federal judges that blocked its ending are biased. So what does this all mean?
Currently, new DACA applications are not being accepted. But with this injunction the courts have preserved the status quo. Those following the requirements won't lose their status. Meaning, dreamers are in a state of limbo until the courts decide what happens next.
“It buys them time and the possibility of obtaining political clout," said ABC Action News legal analyst Jeff Swartz.
Activists like Gomez are lobbying politicians to push for a permanent fix. But every immigration bill has failed so far. We asked our legal analyst if there's any room for compromise on capitol hill.
“I don’t see anything happening. There is too many other things happening for them to deal with DACA right now. Congress only moves when it has to move.”
While the Supreme Court has refused to hear the government’s appeal Swartz believes DACA will eventually be resolved there. But inaction in Congress doesn’t mean inaction on the side of Dreamers. Gomez believes it will energize Latino voters.
“I’m making sure our community is prepared to cast their votes in the ballot and that’s where we’ll hold everyone who is not on our side accountable," said Gomez.
But Schramek is confident Gomez won’t see the numbers she’s expecting.
“A lot of Latinos that vote for Republicans support exactly what Trump is trying to do with DACA," he said.
There’s another looming deadline: March 23 is the next government funding deadline. But our analyst says he doesn’t believe DACA will lead to another shutdown.