President Donald Trump has made good on many campaign promises for a crackdown on immigration and the acceptance of refugees in the U.S. Some of the biggest decisions:
- Trump is phasing out an Obama-era program that gives renewable permits to young immigrants brought to the U.S. as children. It’s known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, and some 800,000 people were allowed to live and work in the U.S. through the program. If Congress doesn’t pass a law giving DACA recipients a way to stay in the U.S., the last permits will expire by March 2020.
- Trump cut the flow of refugees into the U.S. from a maximum of 110,000 in a year as set by President Barack Obama just before he left office to 45,000 this fiscal year. The decision, announced in late September, was the largest reduction ever and came even as the United Nations has declared that the world is in the midst of the worst crisis of displaced persons ever due conflict and persecution.
- A program for at-risk youth from El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala was officially eliminated. The program allowed Central Americans under the age of 21 with parents lawfully in the U.S. to apply to join them here. The program was initiated after a surge of minors coming into the U.S., mostly through Texas, starting in the spring of 2014. Many activists have argued that the minors were refugees and worthy of U.S. asylum. The program, started in December 2014, was thought to be a small affirmation of that view. Less than 2,000 had made it through the refugee vetting process before the program ended. Many more were left in limbo.
- Under the Trump administration, arrests of immigrants, mostly unauthorized, has increased by more than 40 percent. Among field offices, the one based in Dallas and covering half of all Texas counties and the state of Oklahoma, leads the way. Actual physical removal of those immigrants from the U.S. hasn’t yet risen in tandem, according to the latest statistics. Obama’s administration still holds the record for the most deportations — but that is expected to change.
- Trump on January 27 issued a travel ban for a handful of mostly Muslim countries, resulting in stranded passengers and big protests at airports in Dallas and across the nation. The administration was quickly challenged for violating the U.S. Constitution’s protections of religion freedom, among other things. The latest version of the ban blocks travel to the U.S. from six predominantly Muslim countries as well as North Korea and certain Venezuelan government officials.
- “Temporary protected status” has been granted to tens of thousands of people who came to the U.S. seeking safer ground from natural disasters and ongoing armed conflicts. TPS critics say the immigrants’ stay has been far longer than “temporary.” It’s now on the chopping block. Three groups, Haitians, Sudanese and Nicaraguans, have been told their TPS status is ending or likely to end. Ten countries are currently in the TPS program administered by the Dept. of Homeland Security. They are El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras, Nepal, Nicaragua, Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan, Syria and Yemen.
About 57,000 Hondurans were given a reprieve last week when the acting DHS secretary said her agency needed more time to decide whether to extend or end their status. That effectively gave the group another six-months. Hondurans first got TPS in 1999 after Hurricane Mitch devastated that small country. Salvadorans with TPS — about 200,000 with a large Texas presence — are worried they’re the next target. Their 18-month TPS designation expires in March and an extension decision is expected by Jan. 8, 2018.