Local politicians react to Trump's decision to rescind DACA program

In this Sunday, Sept. 3, 2017 photo, supporters of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA), demonstrate on Pennsylvania Avenue in front of the White House in Washington. President Donald Trump is expected to announce that he will end protections for young immigrants who were brought into the country illegally as children, but with a six-month delay, people familiar with the plans said. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

President Donald Trump's administration announced Tuesday it's plan to remove the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program (DACA). Following the decision, several politicians voiced their displeasure with the move.

The program protected hundreds of thousands of young immigrants brought into the county illegally from deportation, giving them the ability to work legally in the United States.

Tuesday afternoon former President Barack Obama released a statement voicing his disappointment with the DACA decision:

Immigration can be a controversial topic. We all want safe, secure borders and a dynamic economy, and people of goodwill can have legitimate disagreements about how to fix our immigration system so that everybody plays by the rules.
But that’s not what the action that the White House took today is about. This is about young people who grew up in America – kids who study in our schools, young adults who are starting careers, patriots who pledge allegiance to our flag. These Dreamers are Americans in their hearts, in their minds, in every single way but one: on paper. They were brought to this country by their parents, sometimes even as infants. They may not know a country besides ours. They may not even know a language besides English. They often have no idea they’re undocumented until they apply for a job, or college, or a driver’s license.
Over the years, politicians of both parties have worked together to write legislation that would have told these young people – our young people – that if your parents brought you here as a child, if you’ve been here a certain number of years, and if you’re willing to go to college or serve in our military, then you’ll get a chance to stay and earn your citizenship. And for years while I was President, I asked Congress to send me such a bill.
That bill never came. And because it made no sense to expel talented, driven, patriotic young people from the only country they know solely because of the actions of their parents, my administration acted to lift the shadow of deportation from these young people, so that they could continue to contribute to our communities and our country. We did so based on the well-established legal principle of prosecutorial discretion, deployed by Democratic and Republican presidents alike, because our immigration enforcement agencies have limited resources, and it makes sense to focus those resources on those who come illegally to this country to do us harm. Deportations of criminals went up. Some 800,000 young people stepped forward, met rigorous requirements, and went through background checks. And America grew stronger as a result.
But today, that shadow has been cast over some of our best and brightest young people once again. To target these young people is wrong – because they have done nothing wrong. It is self-defeating – because they want to start new businesses, staff our labs, serve in our military, and otherwise contribute to the country we love. And it is cruel. What if our kid’s science teacher, or our friendly neighbor turns out to be a Dreamer? Where are we supposed to send her? To a country she doesn’t know or remember, with a language she may not even speak?
Let’s be clear: the action taken today isn’t required legally. It’s a political decision, and a moral question. Whatever concerns or complaints Americans may have about immigration in general, we shouldn’t threaten the future of this group of young people who are here through no fault of their own, who pose no threat, who are not taking away anything from the rest of us. They are that pitcher on our kid’s softball team, that first responder who helps out his community after a disaster, that cadet in ROTC who wants nothing more than to wear the uniform of the country that gave him a chance. Kicking them out won’t lower the unemployment rate, or lighten anyone’s taxes, or raise anybody’s wages.
It is precisely because this action is contrary to our spirit, and to common sense, that business leaders, faith leaders, economists, and Americans of all political stripes called on the administration not to do what it did today. And now that the White House has shifted its responsibility for these young people to Congress, it’s up to Members of Congress to protect these young people and our future. I’m heartened by those who’ve suggested that they should. And I join my voice with the majority of Americans who hope they step up and do it with a sense of moral urgency that matches the urgency these young people feel.
Ultimately, this is about basic decency. This is about whether we are a people who kick hopeful young strivers out of America, or whether we treat them the way we’d want our own kids to be treated. It’s about who we are as a people – and who we want to be.
What makes us American is not a question of what we look like, or where our names come from, or the way we pray. What makes us American is our fidelity to a set of ideals – that all of us are created equal; that all of us deserve the chance to make of our lives what we will; that all of us share an obligation to stand up, speak out, and secure our most cherished values for the next generation. That’s how America has traveled this far. That’s how, if we keep at it, we will ultimately reach that more perfect union.

Former Vice President Joe Biden released a statement on his Facebook page on the decision:

Imagine a young girl, age 4 or 5, traveling with her parents into the United States as they make the hard decision to pursue a better life here. Imagine that child growing up as your student, your co-worker, your friend. Because of the president's decision today, she now must live in fear that she will soon be thrown out and sent back to a country she has never known.
This story speaks to the experience of roughly 800,000 people known as DREAMers here in America today. These children didn't choose to come here, but now many of them are grown with families of their own. They're paying taxes. They've joined the workforce. They went to college. Some of them joined the military. Now, they'll be sent to countries they don't even remember.
These people are all Americans. So let's be clear: throwing them out is cruel. It is inhumane. And it is not America. Congress and the American people now have an obligation to step up and show our neighbors that they're welcome here, in the only place they've ever called home.

Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe tweeted "@realDonaldTrump #DACA decision will damage our economy, make us less safe and diminish our nation's standing as a leader on the world stage."

McAuliffe also released a tweeted a follow-up statement:

Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi voiced her displeasure tweeting "Trump's cowardice is on full display today. His cruelty must not stand! #ProtectDREAMers."

David Grosso, a D.C. councilmember and chairperson of the Committee of Education also released a statement:

President Trump’s decision to end DACA is simply heartless. These young people have built a life here—living, learning, and working alongside neighbors, families, and friends. The District of Columbia and the whole country are better for it. Casting their lives into further uncertainty, he has chosen to abdicate his moral leadership and recklessly pin their futures on the whims of Congress by delaying action for another six months.
Only hate could motivate a president to tear these individuals from their communities like this. I urge Congress to act before the March expiration of the program to secure the place of DACA recipients in our country.
As the Chairperson of the Committee of Education, I am particularly concerned about how this assault on families and neighborhoods will negatively affect students, filling them with fear and causing emotional distress over the possibility that they or a loved one could be snatched away at any time. Trauma such as this stands as a significant barrier to the success of our students—one that I have worked to address as a top priority of the committee.
The District of Columbia stands for the human rights of everyone, including our immigrant neighbors regardless of legal status. I pledge to do everything I can on the Council to protect their place in our city and in our nation. I implore the young people impacted by this terrible decision to keep studying, working, and striving toward their dreams.
This year, Mayor Bowser and the Council provided $500,000 in new funds for legal service providers who stand ready to help those who need it. I urge anyone with questions about their immigration status to contact one of the following organizations.
  • • AYUDA - (202) 387-4848
  • • Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Washington, Inc. - (202) 772-4352
  • • Asian Pacific American Legal Resource Center - (202) 393-3572, ex. 22
  • • Torture Abolition and Survivors Support Coalition International - (202) 529-2991
  • • Whitman-Walker Health Legal Services - (202) 745-7000
  • • Human Rights First - (202) 547-5692
  • • KIND Inc. - (202) 824-8680
  • • Asian/Pacific Island Domestic Violence Resource Project Confidential Helpline - (202) 833-2233
  • • DC Affordable law Firm’s D.C. Immigrants’ Rights Project, in partnership with the Ethiopian Community Center and Lutheran Social Services of the National Capital Area (202) 844-5430
  • • CARECEN - (202) 328-9799
  • • CAIR Coalition - (202) 331-3320

D.C. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson weighed-in stating:

The President’s plan to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program is disappointing, troubling, and un-American. This program has made it possible for hundreds of thousands of undocumented people to remain here and follow their dreams. These are children and young adults who came here undocumented but not of their own choosing, and who have no “home” to return to because America is the only home they know. To end or even delay DACA would be a disgrace.
My United States is proud of its immigrant heritage and embraces diversity. It is inhumane to deport, or even create the fear of deportation in young immigrants who have no roots elsewhere.
Here in the District, we are proud of our immigrant population, and it remains our policy to provide an opportunity for all people to live and work here happily. Most recently, the Council and Mayor enacted the UDC DREAM Amendment Act of 2016. This allows individuals, regardless of immigration status, to pay in-state tuition at the University of the District of Columbia and to receive financial aid. Earlier laws enacted by the Council and Mayor include: the Language Access Act of 2004 to require government agencies to provide services in multiple languages; the Immigration Detainer Compliance Amendment Act of 2012, which limits the circumstances under which the District will comply with an immigration detainer request from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement; and the Driver’s Safety Amendment Act of 2013 to allow for the issuance of drivers’ licenses to residents who cannot establish legal presence in the United States.
Approval of this hate-based campaign promise by the President would be a giant step backward for our country and our society.

Conservative Republican Corey Stewart, a former Trump chairman, who is running for the U.S. Senate, expressed support of the president's decision to end DACA.

President Trump continues to keep his promise to put America First." Stewart said. "We are either a nation of laws or we are not. Obama's DACA program was an unconstitutional end-run around Congress, and I fully support President Trump's decision to reinstate the rule of law and end DACA.

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