Nov 7, 2019

Ending DACA could add risks to U.S. security and regional stability

Photo Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo by Samuel Corum/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

The Trump administration’s plan to rescind Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), set to be argued before the Supreme Court next week, could not only upend 700,000 immigrants’ lives but present serious risks to U.S. national security.

The big picture: DACA has offered young immigrants temporary protection from deportation and the legal ability to work. Ending the program would consume significant law enforcement resources while hampering U.S. military readiness and Western Hemispheric stability.

Between the lines:

  1. The cost of DACA deportations could run as high as $7.5 billion. Funding its rescission would require shifting resources away from cross-border crime, counterterrorism and emergent threats that homeland security and law enforcement officials could otherwise prioritize.
  2. Hundreds of DACA recipients are currently serving in the U.S. Armed Forces through the Military Accessions Vital to National Interest (MAVNI) program. MAVNI recruits immigrants with language skills and cultural competencies that are especially valuable to Special Operations Forces carrying out sensitive missions.
  3. The majority of DACA recipients would be deported to countries in Central and South America that are already struggling with poverty, crime and oversubscribed social services. A large influx of returning migrants would add to the destabilizing strain throughout the region and could further exacerbate the challenges along the U.S.-Mexico border.

The other side: The Trump administration has argued before the courts that rescinding DACA would deter migrant flows.

  • But, but, but: Since DACA recipients had to have arrived more than 12 years ago, the program has no clear magnet effect for those migrating today.

The bottom line: The Supreme Court's ultimate ruling on DACA will have implications not just for a narrow area of immigration policy but for U.S. security and its leadership role in the Americas.

Denis McDonough served as deputy national security adviser and White House chief of staff in the Obama administration.

Go deeper

What's at stake as the Supreme Court takes up immigration

Photo: Erik McGregor/LightRocket via Getty Images

More than two years after the Trump administration's attempt to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, the DACA case will finally come before the Supreme Court on Tuesday.

Driving the news: Trump’s move to end the program that protects hundreds of thousands of young, unauthorized immigrants from deportation was stymied by lower courts. The Supreme Court will hear oral arguments today over DACA and Trump's power to end it.

Go deeperArrowNov 12, 2019

Supreme Court weighs judicial role, human impact of ending DACA

Hundreds of people gather outside the U.S. Supreme Court to rally in support of the Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals program. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Supreme Court justices appeared divided on Tuesday over whether the Trump administration properly rescinded the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, an Obama-era policy that allows unauthorized immigrants brought to the U.S. as children to remain and work in the country.

The big picture: Liberal justices questioned whether the administration clearly explained why it ended DACA — beyond claiming it to be illegal — and the impact of ending it. Conservative justices seemed skeptical about whether the courts have the authority to review the decision at all.

Go deeperArrowNov 12, 2019

Podcast: The future of DACA

The Supreme Court last week heard arguments on President Trump's efforts to end DACA, the Obama-era program that allows hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrants to remain in the country if brought here as minors. Dan digs in with Axios' Stef Kight, who watched and reported on the proceedings.

Go deeper: Supreme Court weighs judicial role, human impact of ending DACA

Keep ReadingArrowNov 19, 2019