DACA To Go – But An Acceptable Trump Solution?


In the wake of signing some executive orders on the day of his inauguration, January 20, 2017, to show that he means business, President Trump is preparing mass signings of executive orders (some say over 200) during the next weeks expected to impact the work of many agencies, including in the field of immigration. From comments that he and his nominee for Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, had made, it was expected that Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) would be one of the first to go. The fate of the 700,000+ who have received the benefits of the program was then muddled after the expected abolishment, with Mr. Trump saying in his December Time Magazine man of the year interview, “We’re going to work something out that’s going to make people happy and proud… They got brought here at a very young age, they’ve worked here, they’ve gone to school here. Some of them were good students. Some have wonderful jobs. And they’re in never-never land because they don't know what's going to happen”, and Mr. Sessions, “Fundamentally, we need to fix this immigration system… We’ve been placed in a bad situation. I really would urge us all to work together. I would try to be supportive, to end the illegality and put us in a position where we can wrestle with how to handle these difficult, compassionate decisions.”

Reince Priebus, White House Chief of Staff, exposed the thinking of Mr. Trump and his team in an interview on Fox News with Chris Wallace on Sunday, January 22, when directly asked whether among the executive actions that Trump plan to sign today and this week, “Specifically, is he going to undo DACA, the Obama executive action to defer deportation for the 700,000 so-called DREAMers who were brought into this country illegally…, and dodging that by saying, “I think we’re going to work with House and Senate leadership as well to get a long-term solution on that issue,” but after being asked the follow-up question, “So, you won’t undo DACA until –“ saying that “I’m not going to make any commitments to you, but I’ve, you know I’m obviously foreshadowed there a little bit.” So if the idea takes hold and legislative relief is passed, will it be a bill that has not yet been written or will Mr. Trump support the already written bipartisan bill, the BRIDGE (Bar Removal of Individuals Who Dream and Grow Our Economy) Act which would give DACA-like protection and employment for 3 years. The other piece of written legislation by Republican Sen. Jeff Flake would give similar protections under the SAFE (Securing Active and Fair Enforcement) Act for 2 years, but has the unfair anti-immigrant feature that any alien arrested on charges for an excludable offense would be detained throughout the entire period of removal proceedings even if cleared of the charges. In other words, someone’s spiteful false complaint would be enough to get an innocent alien detained and deported.

In the end, some palatable solution must be worked out for the Dreamers and all others in similar position who did not apply for the benefits of DACA. Besides the economic benefits of having bright people that the U. S. has educated work to raise this country during the 30-50 years of productive work life that they have left, the threat of having such a populace lose all hope and some listen to the siren song of others and be persuaded to channel their aggressions in acts of violence must be a consideration to the Trump administration.

Although there will undoubtedly be many immigration changes for the worse in the near future, there now appears to be hope for the DACA beneficiaries and their ilk to gain relief under a Trump administration.

This article © 2017 Alan Lee, Esq. Reprinted with permission.

About The Author

Alan Lee, Esq. Alan Lee, Esq. the author is an exclusive practitioner of immigration law based in New York City with an AV preeminent rating in the Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory for 20+ years, registered in the Bar Register of Preeminent Lawyers, on the New York Super Lawyers list (2011-12, 2013-14, 2014-2015), and recognized as a New York Area Top Rated Lawyer. He has written extensively on immigration over the past years for Interpreter Releases, Immigration Daily, and the ethnic newspapers, World Journal, Sing Tao, Epoch Times, Pakistan Calling, Muhasba and OCS; testified as an expert on immigration in civil court proceedings; and is a regular contributor to Martindale-Hubbell's Ask-a-Lawyer program. His article, "The Bush Temporary Worker Proposal and Comparative Pending Legislation: an Analysis" was Interpreter Releases' cover display article at the American Immigration Lawyers Association annual conference in 2004; his 2004 case in the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, Firstland International v. INS, successfully challenged Legacy INS' policy of over 40 years of revoking approved immigrant visa petitions under a nebulous standard of proof, although its central holding that the government had to notify approved immigrant petition holders of the revocation prior to the their departure to the U. S. for the petition to be able to be revoked was short-lived as it was specifically targeted in the Intelligence Reform Act of 2004 (which in response changed the language of the revocation statute itself). Yet Firstland lives on as precedent that the government must comply with nondiscretionary duties established in law, and such failure is reviewable in federal courts. His 2015 case, Matter of Leacheng International, Inc., with the Administrative Appeals Office of USCIS (AAO) set nation-wide standards on the definition of "doing business" for multinational executives and managers to gain immigration benefits.

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