Here on the Kuck | Baxter Immigration Partners Blog, we have been posting timely blogs to keep our readers informed of the precarious status of DACA. Including this instant blog, we have now published three blogs about DACA’s current status.
- Blog No. 1 (published January 31, 2018): In our first blog on this DACA topic, we told readers to standby until February 8, 2018 for possible new news on DACA. This February 8, 2018 date was the deadline Congress had set to find a resolution to a variety of hot-button issues.
- Blog No. 2 (published February 12, 2018): As discussed in Kuck | Baxter’s subsequent, follow-up blog on DACA (entitled “DACA Update”), February 8, 2018 has now come and gone. The government briefly shut down in the early morning of February 9, 2018. When Congress finally made a deal on February 9, 2018 that ended the five-and-a-half-hour government shutdown, the deal contained nearly every Democratic priority in it—except for one major issue. DACA was notably and concerningly left out the deal, which did not include any resolution for DACA’s status. As a result, hundreds of thousands of young immigrants were left not knowing their future and petrified that they were on the verge of losing their protection from deportation under DACA. As mentioned in our February 12th blog, most members of Congress were doubtful about DACA surviving through a substantive legislative process.
This instant blog is our most recent DACA update blog and our third blog on the topic. Read below to find out the current status of DACA as of February 15, 2018:
As predicted earlier in the month, DACA did not have much of a chance for legislative survival. On Thursday, February 15, 2018, the Senate failed to advance any of the four of the immigration bills that were put on the floor for vote. Not one of these bills received the requisite 60 votes. Accordingly, no forward movement was made to protect young immigrants brought illegally to the United states as children.
President Trump has been adamant about ending DACA not only since he took office but as early as his very first presidential campaign speech on June 16, 2015.
During the February 15, 2018 showdown, President Trump was still singing the same tune, reiterating his unwavering anti-DACA position. On February 15, 2018, the White House issued a veto against the bipartisan bill, which of all four of the immigration bills put on the floor for vote, appeared to have the “best” (keep in mind that the term “best” is merely just a relative term in this situation) to reach the 60-vote threshold required to cut off debate and pave the way for final votes on the issue. However, the bipartisan bill fell six votes short of the 60-vote requirement, with Trump adding insult to injury by threatening to veto the bill.
Now what? Some authors of the failed bipartisan proposal said they were not ready to completely give up on their plan and they think they may be able to amend the proposal in order to earn more Republican support. For example, Senator Bob Corker (R-TN), said, “If the enforcement provisions are stripped from the proposal it would gain more GOP votes, although he acknowledged it would still fall short of the 60 needed to advance in the Senate.” But Corker nevertheless concedes that even with this tweak, it is unlikely that that proposal would receive the necessary 60 votes.
Senator Mike Rounds (R-SD), who was a main sponsor of the bipartisan proposal plan, admitted that the plan was not as balanced as it could be and that with some modifications and regrouping it may be possible to give the proposal a second shot. However, the majority of Republican leaders are reluctant to readdress what is now a seemingly dead horse and waste their limited time fighting in a “very likely to fail” round two in the political boxing ring for this immigration issue.
“I don’t see it getting dedicated floor time,” Cornyn said. “If we couldn’t get it together this week…we’ve got other things we’ve got to do. Nominations and other bipartisan legislation.”
After weeks of intense negotiations on immigration issues that could ultimately decide the fate of hundreds of thousands of young people who are currently protected from deportation under DACA, the government and pro-DACA advocates are running out of viable options and DACA recipients are left in a very pessimistic limbo. The Trump Administration and Congress did not reach a resolution about the fate of DACA recipients by the end of the day on February 15, 2018. As such, the holding pattern of likely gloom and doom carries on for DACA recipients.
Some senators said they hoped a solution for DACA’s status could be included in the sweeping 2018 fiscal year spending bill, which is known as the omnibus and has a March 23, 2018 deadline. However, most believe this is unlikely and nothing more than a pipe dream. After the four immigration bills that were defeated on February 15, 2018, Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-TX), said, “If there can be some negotiation leading up to the omnibus, perhaps there will be some temporary [DACA] provision, which to me is not great but it’s kind of where we are.” But Cornyn seems pessimistic. As he says, immigration reform in the Senate is endlessly frustrating and “[b]ringing it up again on the floor for debates and votes would not produce enough consensus to pass a bill.” Cornyn also said, “We’ve already wasted a week on this issue with no resolution, so it’s now time to move on to other issue such as nominations and bipartisan legislation.”
It is unclear what will happen next. According to a February 15, 2018 New York Times article, “An estimated 690,000 young undocumented immigrants have been protected from deportation by an Obama-era program, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA. Another 1.1 million would be eligible.”
President Trump rescinded the DACA program on September 5, 2018, setting DACA’s expiration date for March 5, 2018. Currently two federal courts (on Tuesday, February 13th, Judge Nicholas G. Garaufis of the Federal District Court in Brooklyn, issued an injunction ordering the Trump administration to keep DACA in place for current recipients already receiving its protections; Judge William Alsup of Federal District Court in San Francisco also issued a similar injunction in early January 2018).
Many DACA recipients are hopeful that the judicial system will protect them. And while two federal courts have issued injunctions ordering the Trump administration to keep DACA in place for those already receiving its protections, the Justice Department has asked the Supreme Court to intervene and overturn/reverse these two lower court rulings.
This is an intensely stressful time for immigrants living in the United States. The current state of DACA and other immigration law programs and policies have left immigrants in a terrified frenzy. There will be another vote that MIGHT include some reprieve for DACA recipients prior to March 22, 2018. We will keep you apprised of all developments.
Immigration laws can be dense and complicated. Most frustratingly, these laws are often constantly changing. At Kuck | Baxter immigration partners, we offer our clients only the most knowledgeable and experienced immigration attorneys who take exceptional care to ensure that they are up to date on all the latest changes and current events in immigrant law. While we cannot guarantee a particular outcome, we can help you understand your options and help determine the best way for you to achieve your desired immigration goals. You are rightfully concerned to be incredibly nervous and distraught about your DACA status or any other immigration law that may affects you or a loved one. For legal expertise, zealous advocacy, and sound advice that will help increase your chances of reaching your desired immigration outcome, seek out the legal representation of a reputable, highly-regarded immigration law firm such as Kuck | Baxter.
If you are currently receiving protections under DACA, you could be stripped of these protections as soon as March 5, 2018. There is absolutely no time to wait and see on this issue. It is imperative that you seek out the experience and knowledge of an immigration lawyer/ DACA lawyer specializing in DACA.
To learn more about Kuck | Baxter immigration partners and the immigration law services we offer our clients or to schedule your consultation with one of our immigration attorneys., contact us using our website’s online contact form or call us at (404) 816-8611.
*Note: Make sure you stay tuned to the blog as we will continue to closely monitor the DACA situation. Should anything change, we will post a new blog post recapping the situation as soon as possible.