As the Trump administration announced on Tuesday it would put an end to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival program, the program became the latest target on a hit list of Obama-era programs President Donald Trump has been undoing since taking the Oval Office in January.
In undoing his predecessor’s legacy, Trump has started to overturn key policy areas of former President Barack Obama, largely using his executive powers rather than by writing new legislation or working with Congress.
Why did Trump overturn DACA?
Trump’s DACA decision, which will end a 5-year-old program that extended temporary legal immigration status to people who arrived in the U.S. illegally as children, will terminate by March 2018. The delay in ending the program is seen as Trump’s attempt to force Congress’s hand to find a legislative solution to immigration reform. If Congress fails to act, nearly 800,000 undocumented immigrants who came to the United States when they were younger than 16 will lose permissions that allow them to legally obtain driver’s licenses, work permits and enroll in college.
DACA isn’t the first Obama immigration policy directive Trump has tried to undo since becoming president: The Trump administration issued guidance to ramp up deportations of undocumented immigrants and rescinded prioritization protections against deportation of non-criminal undocumented immigrants. Just days after taking office he issued the executive order temporarily banning refugees and citizens from seven majority-Muslim countries from enter the U.S. The Supreme Court eventually allowed a dialed-down version of the ban to go into effect.
But immigration isn’t the only Obama policy area Trump has tried to undermine since taking office.
Trump pulled out of the Paris Climate Agreement
On June 1, Trump announced he was pulling the United States out of the Paris Agreement, a landmark environmental agreement among world powers that pledged the U.S. to a path toward zero emissions.
This is just one example of Trump’s attack on Obama’s environmental policy initiatives. He has also targeted regulations designed to reduce pollution and poaching, and he has expressed skepticism of climate change. On Aug. 20, he disbanded the federal advisory panel for the National Climate Assessment.
Trump has announced a ban on transgender military members
On Aug. 25 Trump signed a directive that will ban transgender people from serving in the U.S. military, reversing a plan started under Obama to begin allowing transgender people to serve openly in the military. Trump’s reasoning that the move would be a financial nightmare has been widely debunked. Secretary of Defense James Mattis has put Trump's ban on hold, for now, saying he needs input from an expert panel to determine the best way to implement President Trump's ban.
This is one of a dozen civil rights-related policies undone under Trump, including a rule ensuring that transgender people can stay at sex-segregated shelters of their choice.
Trump rescinded protections for transgender students
Trump rescinded Obama-era guidance on Title IX protections and how they apply to transgender students. The Obama administration said public school students should be able to use bathrooms that conform with their gender identities. Trump handed the question on how to deal with transgender students back to the state level.
This issue straddles Trump’s attacks on both Obama’s civil rights and education policy. He has walked back at least six Obama-era education directives including ones dealing with student loan repayment and deceptive borrowing tactics and federal student aid for vocational students.