Trump tweet unlikely to calm anxious immigrants
Posted September 7
President Donald Trump sought to assure hundreds of thousands of immigrants protected from deportation under an Obama-era action that they need not worry about the wind-down of the program as Congress debates an alternative.
But his tweet Thursday morning isn't likely to alleviate the high anxiety felt by immigrants about a White House that has taken aggressive steps to combat illegal immigration.
Here are some the facts surrounding Trump's tweet and the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program:
TRUMP: "For all of those (DACA) that are concerned about your status during the 6 month period, you have nothing to worry about - No action!"
The tweet is consistent with what the White House said earlier in the week on the phase-out of the program, but immigrants enrolled in it are still on edge.
DACA recipients whose permits expire in the next six months have until Oct. 5 to apply for a two-year renewal. Between August and December alone, 201,678 will have their permits expire. Only 55,000 of them have submitted requests for renewal.
That means tens of thousands of immigrants will have to scramble to meet a deadline that is four weeks away while coming up with $500 to pay the fee to renew their permits. Immigrants often have to hire a lawyer to handle their paperwork and navigate the red tape associated with DACA. Many DACA recipients also have parents in the country illegally, and families have been rattled by new immigration tactics in the Trump White House.
For those whose permits expire between March 2018 and September 2019, their fate is in the hands of Congress as it tries to find a legislative replacement amid historic gridlock in Washington.
The Department of Homeland Security stressed Thursday that personal information provided to the government through DACA requests will not be shared with Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the Border Patrol, but it will make exceptions when someone is deemed a national security or public safety threat.
Cato Institute analyst David Bier said Trump's tweet was a "strange reassurance," albeit consistent with what administration officials said earlier in the week.
"It's kind of like your employer telling you: 'You have nothing to worry about. I'm firing you in six months,'" Bier said.
Gregory Chen, the American Immigration Lawyers Association's director of government relations, said the tweet didn't carry weight without more specific instructions by the Department of Homeland Security to agents in the field.
"If you're an (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) officer and you pick somebody in an enforcement action who happens to be DACA, do you know what steps to take? Are you following Trump's tweets?"