Discussion Points for Punto Legal- April 4, 2018

1. DACA.

Last Sunday, President Donald Trump declared DACA was "dead" in a Twitter message. Trump said in September he would terminate the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, but gave the Republican-controlled Congress until March 6 to replace it. Congress failed to meet that deadline, but courts have ruled the program can stay in place for now. Trump of course blamed Democrats for the failure to turn DACA into a DREAM Act. Trump also urged Congress to "pass tough laws and build the WALL," referring to a U.S.-Mexico border wall he has championed as a way to curb illegal immigration and the flow of drugs.

Trump's latest comments on immigration came as the U.S. Department of Justice moved to establish first-ever quotas for immigration judges aimed at speeding up cases and clearing a backlog. In a move aimed at speeding deportations, the Department of Justice sent an email on Friday to federal immigration judges telling them their job performance would be evaluated based on how quickly they close cases. Judges will be required to complete at least 700 cases a year. There are now a record high 687,000 cases pending in immigration court.

Immigration judges do not like the production quotas and believe it undermines their independence. Nevertheless, we are going to see cases in immigration court get moving.

The only path to a DREAM Act that I can see now is a big Republican loss in the mid-term elections in November of this year.