WESTWOOD (CBSLA/AP) — Protesters came out in force Thursday morning in Westwood on the same day marking the application deadline for young immigrants eligible to renew their work permits under the Deferred Actions for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA.
Just after 10 a.m., a group of protesters with bunk bed frames temporarily shut down the intersection of Wilshire Boulevard and Veterans Avenue, near the UCLA campus. Los Angeles police responded with bullhorns, declaring an unlawful assembly and warning the protesters to clear the intersection. Sky2 cameras showed people being detained. The intersection was reopened just before 10:45 a.m., but traffic was moving slowly as chanting protesters moved to the sidewalks while a row of officers in riot gear formed a wall along the side of the street.
Police told CBS2 nine people were later cited for failure to disperse and were arrested.
Another rally was held at Congressman Ed Royce’s office in Brea.
Last month, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced that the DACA program will be rescinded by March 5, 2018, unless Congress can come up with a plan.
If your DACA permit expires between Sept. 5, 2017, and March 5, 2018, you must apply by Thursday to have it renewed. No new applicants will be accepted into the program. After March 5, the DACA program will slowly wind down and get phased out as current recipients see their permits expire.
Without the program, roughly 800,000 undocumented immigrants who arrived illegally as children could be subject to deportation. California has roughly 200,000 DACA recipients – nearly twice as many as Texas, the state with the second highest number.
On its website, the Department of Homeland Security describes how DACA recipients will be considered once their permits expire:
“Current law does not grant any legal status for the class of individuals who are current recipients of DACA. Recipients of DACA are currently unlawfully present in the U.S. with their removal deferred. When their period of deferred action expires or is terminated, their removal will no longer be deferred and they will no longer be eligible for lawful employment.
“Only Congress has the authority to amend the existing immigration laws.”
DACA was instituted by President Barack Obama in June 2012. In order to have applied for DACA, immigrants had to be younger than 31 on June 15, 2012. The average age of DACA recipients was about 26 years old.
When he announced the end to the program Sessions called it an “unconstitutional exercise of authority by the executive branch.”
California filed a lawsuit against the White House for ending the program.
Meanwhile, GOP lawmakers who dined with Donald Trump at the White House said Tuesday the president denied making a deal with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer to extend DACA.
House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy said that the president agreed that any deal on so-called “Dreamers” would happen only after Congress dispenses with tax overhaul legislation. “Taxes first and then we could solve DACA,” recounted McCarthy, who was among the small group of GOP lawmakers at Monday night’s dinner.
Pelosi and Schumer had trumpeted an agreement with the president after emerging from their own White House dinner last month, saying that he had agreed to codify existing DACA protections and to back a broader legislative solution called the DREAM Act that could cover around twice as many immigrants. But Republicans at Monday night’s dinner said the president denied any such deal, and made clear he was focused narrowly on a solution for DACA recipients.
“The president was very clear we’re dealing with DACA,” said McCarthy, R-Calif. “He was very clear the difference between Dreamers and DACA.”
The president has suggested he could revisit the issue if Congress doesn’t come up with a solution in time, but administration officials testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee Tuesday said that immigrants’ temporary work permits would begin to expire absent congressional action, and they would become subject to deportation.
Pelosi and Schumer’s claims of an agreement last month were contested at the time by Republican leaders who insisted the White House had told them there was no deal. And McCarthy and Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas, who was also at the White House dinner, said the president and Chief of Staff John Kelly repeated the assurance to them in person.
“There’s no deal. President Trump said there’s no deal. John Kelly, who attended that dinner, said there’s no deal,” Cotton said. “So there has to be a negotiation that occurs, in the House, in the Senate.”
Sen. John Cornyn of Texas, another attendee Monday night, said the White House would be sending legislative principles to the Hill as soon as this week, although that’s something White House officials have been promising for weeks. House Republicans have also convened a working group on the issue.
For his part, Schumer disputed the Republicans’ assertions.
“If the president is changing his view, he should tell us,” Schumer said. “I have talked to the president, I have talked to General Kelly about continuing on the path that we all agreed to indisputably.”
The back-and-forth came as senators convened their first hearing on the topic since Trump announced he was winding down DACA, which Republicans have long denounced as an unconstitutional overreach by President Barack Obama.
Michael Dougherty, an assistant secretary at the Department of Homeland Security, testified that Trump would like Congress to find a solution allowing the young immigrants to remain legally in the United States.
“They are a benefit to this country,” Dougherty told the Senate Judiciary Committee. “They are a valuable contribution to our society.”
“Under a rational bill these individuals would be allowed to become lawful permanent residents,” Dougherty said.
Republicans insisted that any solution would need to be accompanied by stronger border security and enforcement measures. But Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley specified that he didn’t mean a “wall.” Trump himself has suggested that his long-promised U.S.-Mexico border wall, which is supposed to be paid for by Mexico, can be addressed separately from a solution for DACA.
(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)