Greg Sargent notes that Donald Trump's first major plans in 2017 will almost certainly involve making good on GOP promises to dismantle President Obama's protections for those brought to the US as undocumented immigrants as children.
Trump has repeatedly pledged to cancel all of Obama’s executive actions right away as president. That includes a promise to scrap Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, which grants work permits and temporary reprieve from deportation to the DREAMers. Obama’s executive deportation relief has been widely denounced by Republicans for years, and Trump’s immigration plan vows to “immediately terminate” DACA, describing it as an “illegal amnesty.”
It will be fully within Trump’s power to act on this promise on Day One of his presidency, immigration lawyer David Leopold tells me. Because DACA was granted by executive action, it is subject to revocation at the discretion of the president — or any of his successors. (Obama’s effort to expand this protection to other classes was halted by the courts, but DACA remains in force.) If Trump cancels DACA on Day One, Leopold says, it would revoke the work permits of its beneficiaries in short order and leave them subject to deportation.
“Many of these people are young, starting off, and heavily invested in participating openly in the American system,” Leopold says.
This could have a disruptive impact on hundreds of thousands of people, as well as their families and communities — whether or not they end up getting deported later. After vowing mass deportations throughout the primaries, Trump modified this plan during the general election, promising to deport only the criminals first. But Trump’s modified plan would create no meaningful path to long-term legal status and would leaveundocumented immigrants targets for deportation at some unspecified later date. Revoking protection for the DREAMers would raise the prospect of them getting deported later and effectively drive them underground in the short term.
Immigration advocates are already organizing to fight Trump, should he make good on this and other promises. “There’s no way these young people are going to walk quietly back into the shadows,” Leopold says.
So here's the question: does the GOP actually want to do this? Will the Trumpies give them the choice not to?
The question is whether other Republicans will want this story to unfold. Congressional Republicans have voted to defund DACA in the past. But they did so secure in the knowledge that they could rail angrily at Obama’s lawless amnesty without facing the political consequences of actually ending it, because they knew President Obama would never allow that to happen.
But now President Trump can end DACA himself with the stroke of a pen, and produce all of those consequences right away. If Trump does not go through with this, he may be castigated by immigration hardliners for breaking a promise on an issue that appears to have been central to his appeal to the “forgotten men and women” who elected him and make up Donald Trump’s America. If he does go through with it, we will be provided with an early and vivid illustration of what the xenophobic promises Trump made to His America actually mean in the real world.
You should absolutely expect President Trump to start moving to round up and start mass deportations, starting with reversing DACA. We've already got an America where DREAMers are terrified and white Trump voters are openly taunting them, saying they'll be deported.
Of course this is going to happen. And it's just the start of the brutal Trump regime.