The DACA deadline that wasn't

It was supposed to be a make-or-break moment.When the Trump administration said last September it was pulling ...

Posted: Mar 2, 2018 2:03 PM
Updated: Mar 2, 2018 2:03 PM

It was supposed to be a make-or-break moment.

When the Trump administration said last September it was pulling the plug on Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, March 5 was the program's official end date.

But it was so much more than a date on the calendar. It was the looming deadline that finally was going to force Congress to tackle the perennial political hot potato of immigration.

Protesters organized around it. Lawmakers invoked it in fiery speeches. The President warned that time was running out to make a deal.

Now, here we are, just days from that fateful date and no solution in sight. And what about Monday's deadline? Well, it still exists on paper. But it's become more of a symbolic marker than a moment when anything major is expected to happen for the roughly 700,000 DACA recipients.

Here's a look at how we got here, and what happens next:

How did this happen?

The Obama-era program protected undocumented immigrants who were illegally brought to the United States as children. Those who passed background checks and paid fees got two-year permits allowing them to live and work legally in the United States.

People on both sides of the issue have been trading blame for weeks over why Congress and the President have failed to find middle ground on immigration and pass a new measure to extend protections for DACA recipients.

There's plenty of room for debate about that. But no matter where you stand, it's clear a series of recent court decisions changed the conversation.

In two separate district court rulings, federal judges ordered the administration to keep accepting DACA renewal applications while the courts weigh legal challenges over how the administration went about ending the program.

The Trump administration asked the Supreme Court to jump into the fray, but the high court said this week it would stay out of the debate for now.

That took the teeth -- at least temporarily -- out of the administration's efforts to end DACA. It also gave Congress a way to punt this issue down the road.

So does this mean DACA recipients have nothing to worry about?

That's a question immigrant rights advocates answer with a resounding, "No."

They've been campaigning hard online and in the streets to make the case that things are still dire.

Even though DACA recipients can still renew their protections, advocates say many could find themselves in limbo. Inevitably, they argue, some recipients' renewal applications won't be processed before their current work permits and other protections expire.

How exactly that will play out in communities across the country is anyone's guess. But at a time when immigration authorities have repeatedly said no one is exempt from enforcement, fear is running high.

Still, some leaders have been offering reassurances. Defense Secretary James Mattis has said the hundreds of DACA recipients in the military have nothing to fear. And other administration officials have suggested that deporting any DACA recipients who've lost their protections wouldn't be a priority.

Activists say time is running out for officials to come up with a permanent solution. They're planning a protest in Washington Monday to make their voices heard. The courts have offered a temporary reprieve for DACA recipients, they say, but there's no telling how long that will last.

I thought Congress was going to fix this.

So did a lot of people.

But the much heralded Senate immigration debate last month ended up lasting less than an afternoon.

Plenty of lawmakers said they wanted to make a deal.

As a bipartisan Senate compromise picked up steam, the White House vowed to veto it, saying it would compound problems rather than fix them.

In the end, none of the proposals on the table garnered enough support to pass.

What does President Trump have to say about all this?

It's difficult to pin down where the President stands on DACA.

His administration ended the program, calling it unconstitutional. Lately, Trump has pinned blame for DACA's demise on Democrats.

At times, he's taken a softer stance, promising to address the matter "with heart."

The immigration proposal he pitched during his State of the Union address included what Trump described as a path to citizenship for current DACA recipients and more than 1 million other undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States as children.

That drew sharp criticism from some immigration hardliners who'd supported him. Some posted on Twitter that they were burning their "Make America Great Again" hats.

Who will decide DACA recipients' fates?

There are a number of pending federal court cases dealing with DACA. A common thread tying them together: claims that the Trump administration didn't follow proper procedures and violated recipients' constitutional right to due process.

Final rulings in these cases are a ways off, and even then, appeals are expected. Judges weighing the cases have temporarily ruled that the Trump administration has to keep accepting DACA renewals, and that officials can't revoke DACA protections in individual cases without giving notice, an explanation and an opportunity to respond.

The Trump administration has slammed federal courts -- particularly in California, where at least two of the DACA rulings have occurred -- arguing that activist judges are overreaching.

Given how difficult it's been for Congress and the President to make a deal, when it comes to DACA -- for now, at least -- it looks like judges and justices will cast the deciding votes.

Huntsville
Scattered Clouds
81° wxIcon
Hi: 88° Lo: 72°
Feels Like: 86°
Florence
Clear
80° wxIcon
Hi: 93° Lo: 73°
Feels Like: 85°
Fayetteville
Clear
75° wxIcon
Hi: 83° Lo: 71°
Feels Like: 75°
Decatur
Clear
77° wxIcon
Hi: 93° Lo: 71°
Feels Like: 79°
Scottsboro
Broken Clouds
75° wxIcon
Hi: 92° Lo: 73°
Feels Like: 75°
WAAY Radar
WAAY WAAY-TV Cam
WAAY Temperatures

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 99926

Reported Deaths: 1781
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson13258244
Mobile10517207
Montgomery6835149
Madison544734
Tuscaloosa423076
Baldwin365125
Unassigned363064
Shelby330936
Marshall318937
Lee270047
Morgan241118
Etowah216232
DeKalb183013
Calhoun180717
Elmore173138
Walker153964
Houston141912
Russell13872
St. Clair135418
Limestone134913
Dallas133123
Franklin128820
Cullman122712
Colbert120716
Lauderdale118919
Autauga117421
Escambia108717
Talladega104814
Jackson10144
Tallapoosa86579
Chambers84438
Dale83525
Clarke82610
Blount8124
Chilton8097
Butler76736
Coffee7646
Covington73720
Pike7087
Marion58026
Barbour5765
Lowndes57324
Marengo56515
Hale47826
Bullock46611
Winston45711
Perry4454
Washington44312
Bibb4425
Wilcox43210
Monroe4215
Pickens4049
Randolph40310
Conecuh39310
Sumter36418
Lawrence3512
Macon33914
Crenshaw3265
Choctaw28712
Cherokee2758
Henry2643
Clay2635
Geneva2631
Greene25211
Lamar2292
Fayette2125
Cleburne1271
Coosa1033
Out of AL00

Tennessee Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 123914

Reported Deaths: 1233
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Shelby23485308
Davidson20722217
Rutherford658955
Hamilton622053
Knox468540
Williamson357725
Sumner344972
Unassigned31424
Out of TN294714
Wilson232123
Bradley195613
Montgomery195213
Sevier18947
Putnam178518
Trousdale15836
Robertson156720
Hamblen140514
Blount131411
Washington12772
Maury12727
Tipton121110
Madison116018
Sullivan103714
Hardeman93017
Bedford92811
Macon86013
Lake7920
Loudon7493
Gibson7266
Bledsoe7081
Fayette7028
Dickson6982
Anderson6936
Dyer6638
Henderson6043
Cheatham5997
Jefferson5844
Obion5794
Lawrence5756
McMinn55320
Coffee5483
Rhea5382
Warren5334
Carter5246
Lauderdale5148
Haywood5106
Greene5048
Roane4852
Hawkins4837
Hardin4828
Cocke4783
Weakley4634
Cumberland4586
Smith4554
Monroe4529
Giles38513
McNairy3815
DeKalb3652
Franklin3324
Carroll3253
Lincoln3091
Marshall3044
White2945
Henry2900
Johnson2850
Claiborne2760
Hickman2730
Crockett2695
Campbell2541
Wayne2282
Marion2274
Chester2232
Decatur2163
Polk2073
Grainger2000
Overton1981
Unicoi1690
Union1620
Benton1591
Cannon1510
Jackson1291
Humphreys1283
Morgan1261
Scott1220
Grundy1142
Meigs1060
Sequatchie1060
Fentress960
Hancock812
Perry810
Clay780
Stewart780
Lewis741
Moore610
Houston590
Pickett371
Van Buren360

Community Events