Immigrants and their supporters have slammed US President Donald Trump for a series of tweets that ostensibly ends any hopes of a deal on the programme that protects hundreds of thousands of young people from deportation.
“Border Patrol Agents are not allowed to properly do their job at the Border because of ridiculous liberal (Democrat) laws like Catch & Release. Getting more dangerous. “Caravans” coming. Republicans must go to Nuclear Option to pass tough laws NOW. NO MORE DACA DEAL!” Trump tweeted on Sunday morning, referring to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals programme (DACA), which protects about 800,000 undocumented immigrants brought to the US as children.
“These big flows of people are all trying to take advantage of DACA. They want in on the act!” he said in another tweet.
His attacks on the programme, as well as another tweet threatening to once again end the North American Free Trade Agreement with Mexico and Canada, came shortly after he attended an Easter service in Washington, DC.
Online, many criticised the president for his remarks but said they were not surprised, given his history of tweets on DACA.
United We Dream, an organisation that campaigns for undocumented youth, tweeted: “This just reaffirms what we have known all along: Trump never wanted to protect immigrant youth – he only wanted to further his hateful anti-immigrant agenda.”
This just reaffirms what we have known all along: Trump never wanted to protect immigrant youth – he only wanted to further his hateful anti-immigrant agenda.
— United We Dream (@UNITEDWEDREAM) April 1, 2018
ah, yes, I see the traditional Easter message about deporting people has been issued
— Laura Lorson (@prairielaura) April 1, 2018
— ACLU (@ACLU) April 1, 2018
Josh Breisblatt, a senior policy analyst at the American Immigration Council, pointed out that DACA is not an “act” and that Trump was the one who initially ended the programme, as well as nearly all attempts to come to a solution since.
So much wrong in so few words.
1. Anyone coming now would never have been eligible for DACA.
2.DACA is not an "act."
3. Trump ended DACA, attempting to end the initiative but courts have forced government to accept renewals only. https://t.co/RCemO4RVQu
— Josh Breisblatt (@jbreisblatt) April 1, 2018
Trump ended DACA last September, giving Congress until last month to pass legislation for continued protections.
Since then, Trump tied any DACA legislation to funding for his wall on the US-Mexico border.
He has blamed Democrats for standing in the way of a deal, but the White House has repeatedly rejected proposals on the programme.
Kara Lynum, and others, also pointed out the inaccuracies of Trump’s tweet about “flows of people”, saying that “DACA is only available to people who were under 16 when they entered the US and were living in the US before June 15, 2007 and were physically present here [in the US] in June 15, 2012”.
False. They wouldn’t qualify. https://t.co/W9bCVRgELW
— Rachel Glickhouse (@Riogringa) April 1, 2018
It is unclear whether Trump’s tweets – he is known for his Twitter tirades – represent a complete policy shift on the issue of DACA.
While the president ended the programme in September, a federal judge has said that the administration must continue renewing applications. No new applications, however, have been accepted.
Undocumented immigrants and their advocates have vowed to hold both the Republicans and Democrats who allowed protections to expire accountable in November’s midterm elections.
Some 1.8 million undocumented immigrants entered the US before their 16th birthday, making them eligible for DACA protections.
Of those 1.8 million, about 800,000 have received DACA protections in the five years the programme has existed, according to numbers from the Department of Homeland Security, the University of California-San Diego and several immigration advocacy groups compiled by the USA Today network.
More than 90 percent of DACA recipients are employed or in school. Less than one percent had their protection rescinded due to illegal activity.