A Deal on DACA?: Making Sense of Recent Reports from Capitol Hill

By Andrew Soboeiro

President Trump’s decision to revoke Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, has put hundreds of thousands of young immigrants at risk of deportation. In this environment, it’s easy to see why reports of a deal between the president and Congressional Democrats inspired hope among immigrants and their supporters. Said agreement purportedly offers protections for DACA’s current enrollees. But with so few details publicly available and contradictory statements coming out of the White House, it remains to be seen what, if anything, this deal will accomplish.

The Story So Far

On 5 September of this year, the White House announced that it would rescind DACA, an executive order from the Obama Administration. DACA offered temporary relief from deportation for undocumented immigrants who arrived in the United States before the age of 16 and fit certain requirements. Because its participants had given key personal details to the Federal government when enrolling, ending the program would make it easy to deport them. The president, however, indicated that he did not want to deport them, and called on Congress to “do your job.” Many interpreted this to mean that Congress should pass a law offering comprehensive protections to the program’s participants.

On 13 September, the president met with the ranking Democratic members of Congress, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer, to discuss a bipartisan immigration bill. After the meeting, Pelosi and Schumer announced that they had reached a tentative deal to “enshrine the protections of DACA into law” while also providing more funding for border security. But Trump promptly tweeted that there had been “no deal,” only to later indicate that they were close to a deal.

Members of the Trump Administration proceeded to offer mixed messages on the purported deal. These included claiming that it may offer DACA participants a pathway to citizenship; insisting that it did not include “amnesty,” even though granting citizenship would constitute amnesty; and asserting that the deal required Democrats to somehow authorize Trump’s plans for a border wall. In response, Pelosi and Schumer insisted they would not fund a wall and that the deal would include a pathway to citizenship.

What the Future Could Hold

With so many contradictory details, it is hard to say what, if anything, will result from this deal. Much will likely depend on how Democratic and Republican voters pressure elected officials to act going forward. Public figures on the left have generally supportedPelosi and Schumer’s efforts, though some have cautioned them about what the president might try to get their support for. Meanwhile, many voices on the right have urged Trump not to work with Democrats, and some have suggested that attempting to do so is a betrayal of his campaign promises.

Ultimately, the future of this deal may hinge on factors that are otherwise unrelated to immigration. Trump’s willingness to negotiate with Democrats, for example, is likely due to an ongoing feud he is having with congressional Republican leaders. If his relationship with those leaders improves, he may no longer be willing to work with Democrats. Likewise, Pelosi and Schumer may change their plans depending on how their poll numbers change. For DACA’s many participants, the future remains unclear.

Though we can’t predict the future, Vigoda Law Firm is committed to teaching you as much as possible about ongoing changes in immigration policy. For more information, call 919-307-7817 or visit our website today.