The Trump administration’s ongoing anti-immigrant campaign has taken another step forward, as Homeland Security Secretary John F. Kelly announced on Thursday night that he had rescinded an Obama administration initiative to protect the undocumented parents of American citizens and other legal residents in the United States.
The Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents, or “DAPA” program, was announced by the President Obama in 2014 as part of his broader immigration push. While never fully implemented, DAPA would have protected eligible parents of citizens and legal residents from the threat of deportation and provided them with work permits eligible for renewal every two years. Upon being announced three years ago, the program was immediately challenged in court, preventing it from being put into action.
On its website, DHS explained that “a number of factors” played into Kelly’s decision to rescind DAPA, including “the nationwide injunction of the DAPA memorandum, the ongoing litigation, the fact that DAPA never took effect, and our new immigration enforcement priorities.”
Those “new immigration enforcement priorities” have been a lynchpin of the Trump administration’s political agenda, and have lead to nationwide sweeps of undocumented immigrants, targeting both those with criminal records and without.
Kelly’s Thursday announcement fell on the five-year anniversary of President Obama’s creation of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or “DACA” program. As of March, there were an estimated 787,000 DACA participants in the U.S.
On Twitter, former Obama senior staffer Cecilia Muñoz noted the irony:
In addition to protecting parents of legal residents and citizens, the DAPA program, had it been implemented, would have expanded eligibility for DACA applicants as well, and lengthened their protections from two years to three. However, DHS noted: “This rescission will not affect the terms of the original DACA program as outlined in the June 15, 2012 memorandum.”