Recent comments from President Trump and senior Democrats over the fate of the Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals program, DACA, have triggered confusion among supporters and detractors of the plan.
For Mexico, whose nationals comprise the majority of DACA recipients, one thing is clear: Phasing out the program -- which protects some young people who entered the country illegally as minors from deportation -- would hurt America.
“I don’t know of any country that is willing to ship doctors, accountants, lawyers to another country,” Mexico’s foreign secretary Luis Videgaray told The Times in an interview Tuesday. “That’s just a transfer of human capital. That would be a big win for Mexico to have these young kids that are law abiding, creative, full of energy and well trained. All of them have a high school diploma. And the majority of them are college educated. It would be a big loss to the U.S., to the U.S. economy in particular.”
Videgaray said contingency plans had been made in case DACA recipients were forced back to Mexico. They include changing the laws in Mexico so that education certificates issued in the U.S. are recognized by Mexican institutions, allowing returnees to avoid problems transferring their professional skills; ensuring their eligibility for loans and social benefits; and creating a data base to match returnees with appropriate companies.
“It’s very appealing to have college educated, English-speaking people and many companies in Mexico are looking for that profile of people,” Videgaray said.
President Trump on Thursday defended his negotiations with Democratic leaders on immigration, as many of his most prominent supporters denounced the idea of a deal to legalize the status of hundreds of thousands of young immigrants who are in rthis county illegally.
“We’re working on a plan — subject to getting massive border controls. We’re working on a plan for DACA,” Trump told reporters on Air Force One as he prepared to fly to Florida to inspect hurricane recovery efforts.
DACA is the acronym for the Obama administration program that shielded nearly 800,000 young immigrants brought to the U.S. illegally as children, the so-called Dreamers, from deportation. Trump last week said he would phase out the program starting in six months.
“People want to see that happen,” Trump said, referring to a legislative solution for the Dreamers. "You have 800,000 young people, brought here, no fault of their own. So we’re working on a plan, we’ll see how it works out. We’re going to get massive border security as part of that. And I think something can happen, we’ll see what happens, but something will happen,” he said.
Responding to a shouted question on whether he favors “amnesty,” Trump shouted back: “The word is DACA.”
Trump met for dinner Wednesday night with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco) and Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) to discuss the issue. Shortly after the dinner, the two Democrats issued a statement saying that they had agreed with Trump to pursue legislation to legalize the status of Dreamers.
The two released an additional statement Thursday morning saying that “as we said last night, there was no final deal, but there was agreement on the following: We agreed that the President would support enshrining DACA protections into law, and encourage the House and Senate to act.”
“What remains to be negotiated are the details of border security, with a mutual goal of finalizing all details as soon as possible,” they added.
The deal would not include money for Trump’s long-sought wall along the border with Mexico, they said, adding that. “the President made clear he intends to pursue it at a later time, and we made clear we would continue to oppose it.”
“Both sides agreed that the White House and the Democratic leaders would work out a border security package. Possible proposals were discussed including new technology, drones, air support, sensor equipment, rebuilding roads along the border and the bipartisan McCaul-Thompson bill,” a reference to a border security measure.
Trump confirmed most of that, telling reporters that "the wall will come later.”
“We’re right now renovating large sections of wall, massive sections, making it brand new,” he said, referring to efforts to repair and upgrade some sections of existing border fences.
Trump also said he had briefed House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on his discussions with Schumer and Pelosi and that they were “on board.”
Talk of a deal, however, sparked angry reactions among many of Trump’s supporters.
“Amnesty Don ... Trump Caves on DACA,” screamed the headline on Breitbart, the conservative website run by Steve Bannon, Trump’s former chief strategist.
Sean Hannity, the Fox commentator and one of Trump’s most loyal supporters, likened the president’s negotiations to President George H.W. Bush’s breaking of his “no new taxes” pledge — a decision that led to a conservative revolt that doomed Bush’s presidency.
Ann Coulter, the conservative commentator who already has been critical of Trump, went the furthest, calling for Trump’s removal from office.
California on Monday will wade into the legal battle over President Trump’s decision to scrap the nation’s 5-year-old program protecting young immigrants without legal residency.
Lawyers for 15 states, led by New York and Washington, filed suit against President Trump on Wednesday over his planned repeal of the DACA program, arguing that federal authorities have “backtracked” on their promise to protect young immigrants who came forward and registered with the government.
They urged a federal judge in Brooklyn to block the move to rescind the Obama-era program on the grounds the reversal is “unauthorized by and contrary to the Constitution and laws of the United States.”
“It’s clear that President Trump’s DACA repeal would cause huge economic harm to New York—and that’s it’s driven by President Trump’s personal anti-Mexican bias,” said New York Atty. Gen. Eric Schneiderman who led the suit.
He was joined by state attorneys from Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington and the District of Columbia.
California Atty. Gen. Xavier Becerra said Tuesday he too planned to sue to defend Obama’s 2012 order, which has protected from deportation more than 200,000 immigrants who came to this country as children and settled in California. However, he did not sign on the New York suit.
The legal action by the Democratic state lawyers mirrors a similar effort by Republican attorneys from Texas and more than 20 other states. They filed suit in a federal court in south Texas alleging Obama had gone too far in 2014 when he expanded DACA and introduced a new program to cover about four million immigrant parents who had legal children in this country.
The Texas suit led to a national order that blocked Obama’s 2014 policy from taking effect. While conservatives have described Obama’s action as unconstitutional, the Texas judge ruled on procedural grounds that the Democratic administration failed to publish its new rule as an official regulation.
Now the Democratic state attorneys argue that the abrupt repeal on the DACA order should also be blocked on procedural grounds.
They also say the repeal should be blocked on the grounds that it is motivated by discrimination against Mexicans and because it violates the “due process of law” by suddenly changing the rules for the young immigrants.
12:56 p.m.: This article was updated with staff reporting.
Thousands who were supposed to march to the federal building in downtown Los Angeles to protest President Trump’s move to end the so-called Dreamers’ program instead stopped in front of City Hall on Tuesday evening.
As organizers and DACA students spoke on the steps, many in the crowd who couldn’t hear their words hoisted signs and led their own chants of, “Immigrants are welcome here.”
“It’s important to show up, especially now that the Trump administration and other forces are threatening our livelihood,” said Sean Tan, a 24-year-old DACA recipient and public policy graduate student at UCLA, who spoke at the rally.
The march ended shortly after 7 p.m., with the crowd facing City Hall with hands clasped and raised in the air, pledging to protect and fight for one another.
But they didn’t disperse immediately, instead continuing to chant.
For the record: A caption in this post previously misspelled the name of protester Zuleyma Chazari. It has been corrected.
Within minutes of the Trump administration’s announcement that it would end protections for nearly 800,000 young immigrants in the country without legal status, California campus leaders began a furious pushback.
From large campuses to small, education leaders on Tuesday vowed to join together to protect their vulnerable students.
California is home to the nation’s largest concentration of students — about 214,000 as of last year — who received temporary protection from deportation under the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.
Thousands filled Placita Olvera in downtown Los Angeles with their babies, their students, their loved ones and friends, all in protest of President Trump’s decision Tuesday to phase out the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.
They began to gather before 5 p.m., leading chants including, “We are the immigrants, mighty might immigrants” and a protest favorite, “El pueblo unido jamás será vencido” (The people united will never be defeated).
By 5:50 p.m., the speeches began but were difficult to hear. That didn’t stop the masses from cheering and holding up their signs.
“Somebody’s got the video on Twitter. We’ll see it later,” Los Angeles Leadership Academy history teacher Peta Lindsay told Bryan Peña, an 18-year-old DACA recipient and freshman at Cal State L.A.
When Peña got to the protest, he was reminded that relative to undocumented students in other states, he has some support in California.
“This is a sign ... that we’re welcome here,” he said, pointing to the crowd and their signs with messages like “Protect immigrant families!” and “Let my students dream.”
But outside of California, it’s a different story, he said.
“I’m still not accepted in the USA.”
Shortly after 6 p.m., protesters began their march along Alameda Street toward the federal building.
President Trump’s repeal of an Obama-era program that shielded hundreds of thousands of “Dreamers” from deportation faces a determined challenge in the courts from immigrant rights lawyers who call the change abrupt, unjustified and unconstitutional.
But they recognize it will not be easy to block Trump’s action because the president has broad power over immigration enforcement, a point often made when President Obama was in the White House.
Some are already looking to a federal judge in Brooklyn, N.Y., who has before him a lawsuit filed on behalf of Martin Batalla Vidal, who was born in Mexico, but has lived in New York since he was brought there as a 7-year-old. His lawsuit, related to a proposed expansion of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program that was blocked in 2015, is pending before U.S. District Judge Nicholas G. Garaufis, a President Clinton appointee.
On Tuesday, a team of immigrants rights lawyers sent a six-page letter to the judge saying they wanted to expand Vidal’s lawsuit and make it a challenge to Trump’s repeal order.
The news can teach you lessons and teachers have your back.
That’s the message David Wiltz told his social studies students at Thomas Jefferson High School south of downtown L.A. on Tuesday.
The juniors, a mix of English learners and special-needs students, fidgeted, listened and rested their heads on their desks as Wiltz engaged them in a conversation about President Trump’s decision to phase out the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.
“Quick question: Did you hear what happened this morning?” he asked, pointing a long ruler at students. “What did Trump do this morning?
Los Angeles politicians on Tuesday criticized the Trump administration’s decision to scrap protections for young men and women in the United States without legal status and urged Congress to pass legislation to aid so-called Dreamers.
Los Angles County supervisors Hilda Solis and Janice Hahn and L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti rallied downtown to join supporters of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.
The program, put in place by then-President Obama, shields those brought to the country illegally as children from being deported.
U.S. Atty. Gen. Jeff Sessions said Tuesday that the administration will phase out DACA beginning in six months, a move that pushes the issue to Congress.
Sessions’ announcement marked “one of those dark days in our history,” said Solis, whose district includes many immigrant communities, including El Monte and Boyle Heights.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) signaled Tuesday that she believes former President Obama’s executive order to protect young immigrants who were brought into the U.S. as minors was on shaky legal ground, and said that is why Congress must act.
Feinstein was asked about the legality of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program during an appearance on MSNBC.
“DACA was executive order. Legal is the law of passage of something,” Feinstein responded. “You know there are 10 attorneys general that are prepared to sue. I don’t want to get into that. The point is DACA is here and we’ve got 800,000 young people who depend on this.”
“Meet the Press Daily” host Chuck Todd said that Feinstein’s answer implied that the program was “on shaky legal ground.”
“It is,” Feinstein responded. “That’s why we need to pass a law, and we should do it.”
The Democrat’s words questioning the legality of the DACA program seemed to echo U.S. Atty. Gen. Jeff Sessions’ explanation for why the Trump administration was phasing it out, saying that Obama had exceeded his legal authority.
Feinstein’s remarks are likely to fuel criticism among the most liberal members of her party, some of whom have said that she has grown out of touch with her constituents as she ponders whether to seek a sixth term next year. Feinstein set off a furor last week when she declined to call for President Trump’s impeachment and urged “patience” over his presidency.
After this item was published, a spokeswoman for Feinstein emailed to clarify that the senator was “obviously” referring to the legal threat posed by the lawsuit that the state attorneys general were threatening.
Updated at 4:45 p.m.: This post was updated to add a comment from Feinstein’s office.
California lawmakers said Tuesday that they plan to protect young adults whose immigration status is jeopardized by the end of the DACA program.
At news conference at the Capitol attended by more than 20 legislators, Senate Speaker Pro Tem Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles) said California should be "beacon of hope and opportunity.”
“We’re not going to allow one single executive decision on DACA to reverse generations of progress at the height of our historic diversity, economic output and our sense of global responsibility,” he said.
Assemblyman Evan Low (D-Campbell), chair of the Legislative LGBT Caucus, said Trump’s other actions against Muslims and transgender service members don’t show a commitment to diversity.
“Our president clearly wasn’t held enough as a child,” he said. "It’s important that we talk about how we embrace love.”
Assemblyman Marc Levine (D-San Rafael), chairman of the Legislative Jewish Caucus, called the President’s decision “evil.”
“He has lulled and lured young people to register with the government ... and then take that information and use it as a tool to deport them,” Levine said. “That is ethnic cleansing."
Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon (D-Paramount) said there are up to 20 bills in the Legislature that protect immigrant rights.
“Young people who know no other country than this need to know that their country will do the right thing,” he said. “This Legislature will be leading the way and making sure that California does the right thing."
What public good is achieved by yanking such people from their homes, families and communities and sending them to countries where they are strangers and often don’t even speak the language?
The Times Editorial Board
Former state schools chief Delaine Eastin, a Democrat running for California governor, on Tuesday expressed strong support for the young people currently shielded from deportation under the DACA program.
Eastin has called for enhanced protections of all immigrants and has been a harsh critic of the Trump administration since jumping into the race last fall. Along with supporting the impeachment of the president, Eastin has blasted efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act and said she favors establishing a single-payer health care program.
Eastin on Tuesday called on Congress to immediately take action to protect young people known as Dreamers.
“The President’s decision to end DACA is devastating to some of our best and brightest young people,” Eastin said in a statement.
Texas Atty. Gen. Ken Paxton on Tuesday praised President Trump’s decision to phase out the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program that gave protection from deportation and work permits to more than 800,000 immigrants who came to the United States illegally as children.
Paxton described the program, commonly known as DACA, as “unlawful” because former President Obama created it in 2012 without congressional authorization.
“The Obama-era program went far beyond the executive branch’s legitimate authority,” Paxton said in a statement.
On June 29, Paxton was among nine state attorneys general and one governor who co-signed a letter to the Trump administration setting a Sept. 5 deadline to phase out DACA or face the coalition’s challenge to the program in court.
“I applaud President Trump for phasing out DACA,” Paxton said. “Had former President Obama’s unilateral order on DACA been left intact, it would have set a dangerous precedent by giving the executive branch sweeping authority to bypass Congress and change immigration laws.”
The program targets young people — sometimes called Dreamers — who arrived in the U.S. before they were 16 years old and were under the age of 31 as of June 2012. It also requires continuous residence in the U.S. since 2007.
Those who qualified for the program were granted two-year renewable work permits.
Paxton also led a U.S. Supreme Court challenge, filed by 26 states, to an expanded program known as Deferred Action for Parents of Americans, introduced by Obama in November 2014. The so-called DAPA expansion sought to shield certain immigrants who have lived in the United States illegally since 2010 and grant them three-year renewable work permits.
In February 2015, the Supreme Court issued a preliminary injunction temporarily halting that program from going into effect, and in June the Trump administration announced that the program would not be implemented.
I have a great heart for these folks we’re talking about.... Really we have no choice, we have to be able to do something. I think it’s going to work out very well, and long term it’s going to be the right solution.
President Trump to reporters Tuesday afternoon