A shift in policy regarding the status of childhood immigrants popularly known as “dreamers” has been disclosed Sunday by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
The department’s Secretary, John Kelly told interviewers on the Sunday morning talk shows that his department will not target immigrants brought to the United States as children for deportation, saying, “These people are caught between the law. We’re not targeting them. The President obviously is sympathetic. But I just wish these kind of issues were dealt with legally by the United States Congress”.
Kelly also stated with regard to the new policy on those granted protections under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, that the department has “many, many more important criminals to go after and get rid of”.
President Trump has himself recently been quoted as saying that the dreamers, “have nothing to worry about”, and in an interview with the Associated Press, Trump remarked that “we’re not after the dreamers, we are after the criminals.”
But some observers point to an atmosphere of policy confusion on the matter, noting that Attorney General Jeff Sessions last week said immigrants who arrived in the United States as children were “subject to being deported”.
On Sunday however, Sessions walked back that statement, telling ABC News that, “I believe that everyone that enters the country unlawfully is subject to being deported; however, we’ve got — we don’t have the ability to round up everybody and there’s no plans to do that. But we’re going to focus first, as the president has directed us, on the criminal element.”
Critics of the President have pointed out that when Trump initially announced his campaign for the White House in June 2015, Trump pledged to “immediately terminate President [Barack] Obama’s illegal executive order on immigration,” – including Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, which Obama signed in June 2012.
Trump also stated in an August 2016 speech on immigration to rally goers, that – “We will immediately terminate President Obama’s two illegal executive amnesties, in which he defied federal law and the Constitution to give amnesty to approximately 5 million illegal immigrants.”
Adding to the perception of disarray with regard to the policy, was a report from USA Today, four days ago that concluded that
“The Trump administration has stepped up the deportation of undocumented immigrants who had come to the United States as children and lost their protected status, which had allowed them to stay, federal data provided to USA TODAY shows”.
Related to this story is the news that the Trump administration faces a lawsuit from a 23-year-old “Dreamer” Juan Manuel Montes, 23 – who was recently deported to Mexico despite the fact that DACA granted him protected status until 2018. Montes had lived in the United States since he was 9. He was deported from the border city of Calexico, California, after being questioned by a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officer.