Trump Killed A Key Obama Immigration Program. But What He Didn’t Do Matters More.
By Elise Foley
WASHINGTON ― The Trump administration formalized an immigration policy shift on Thursday evening that was notable for what it didn’t do as much as what it did. The Department of Homeland Security rescinded DAPA, a never-implemented program that would have allowed some undocumented parents of U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents to stay in the country.
But more significantly, it left in place the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, a policy that President Donald Trump promised to eliminate, and one that has shielded hundreds of thousands from deportation.
By Friday, the Trump administration was insisting that the president hadn’t gone back on his promise to end DACA. And even defenders of the program remain cautious about its future prospects. Still, nearly 150 days into his time in the White House, Trump hasn’t rescinded DACA ― not on Day One of his presidency, as he pledged during the campaign; not when he radically reshaped immigration policy early in his administration; and not on Thursday.
That Trump has been unwilling or unable to move on this front is both a product of an intense, at times underappreciated, lobbying effort by immigration advocates and a testament to the difficulties of removing a benefit once it is in place.
“Their stories and their contributions are the most significant thing protecting DACA,” Cecilia Muñoz, director of the White House Domestic Policy Council under President Barack Obama, said. “On some level, it is widely understood that these young people are Americans in every way except on paper. … That’s actually the most important thing, and that was a major contributor to DACA in the first place. […]