‘A Declaration of War on Immigrants’: Reactions to Trump’s DACA Decision

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Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the change.

The Trump administration announced on Tuesday that it would stop issuing permits under the Obama era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA and renew existing permits only over the next six months to give Congress a short window to come up with a replacement program. Here is a sampling of the reaction.

Assemblyman Marcos Crespo
New York State has the third largest number of DACA enrollees in the nation. Ending DACA will impact the President’s home state in unquantifiable pain and suffering. No nation that claims to be a bastion of civil society can justify removing children from its territorial borders and deporting them to places they never called home. The Leadership in Congress must take ownership of this issue and many others at a time when our nation is lacking clear and strong leadership on many fronts.

Assemblyman Francisco Moya
“As the proud son of Ecuadorian immigrants who represents so many immigrant families in the State Assembly, I am horrified by Trump’s reprehensible and callous decision to end DACA. This is an outright attack on everything this nation stands for, and will surely prevent an entire generation of young first-generation Americans from reaching their fullest potential. I grieve with my community, with the young DREAMers in my district, throughout Queens and New York, throughout the 50 states who will overwhelmingly suffer by this action. The one thing that we can take solace in is the fact that this is only the beginning. Mark my words: we will send a powerful message to Trump that we no longer have to live in the shadows.”

Comptroller Scott M. Stringer
“This is about the heart and soul of America — who we are, what we believe, and how we treat young people. As an American, I’m stunned. As a father to two young children, I’m heartbroken. It’s hard to imagine the fear tens of thousands of New Yorkers, and hundreds of thousands of Americans, are feeling today as their White House targets them. But every Dreamer should know that we are prepared to fight. I will not give up — and New York City won’t give up.”

NYS Board of Regents Chancellor Betty Rosa and NYSED Commissioner MaryEllen Elia
“By ending the DACA program, President Trump ignores the vast contributions Dreamers have already made to our nation’s economy and society, as well as their vast potential for future contributions. Now it is time for our Congressional leaders to demonstrate true leadership and embrace Dreamers for what they are – productive, hard-working, tax-paying members of our communities. Dreamers are American in every way except for their immigration status. Congress must now codify the rights of Dreamers and bestow upon them what America’s founders declared in our nation’s Declaration of Independence as the rights of all Americans: life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. ”

Councilman Fernando Cabrera
“Research on this program has shown that DACA has been good for immigrants and native-born Americans. Many enter the fields of education or healthcare and more than 90% of respondents to a survey by the National Immigration Law Center, Center for American Progress United We Dream and The University of California-San Diego, reported that since receiving DACA status, have obtained a driver’s license or state ID, which supports public safety (source: National Immigration Law Center). The survey also showed that most DACA recipients are employed or enrolled in school. DACA increases average hourly wages by more than 40%, allowing recipients to actively participate in the U.S. economy. Under DACA, close to 800,000 undocumented immigrants who arrived as children have received work permits and deferral from deportation.”

Rep. Nydia M. Velázquez
“The President previously said that Dreamers have little reason to worry because he has a ‘big heart.’ Today’s decision belies that statement and makes clear the callous and hateful ideology that is driving this Administration’s policies.
Not only is this decision a moral affront, but this policy, if it takes effect, will cause billions of dollars of economic damage. It is telling that business leaders from a range of sectors have united in opposition DACA’s rescission. Where the President has failed to show moral leadership, Congress must step forward. In coming weeks, I will be working with my Democratic colleagues to push the Republican Leadership to allow for an up-or-down vote on a clean ‘DREAM Act’, so these young people – the face of America – are protected.

Center for Popular Democracy Co-Executive Director Ana Maria Archila
“DACA has been a gateway to a better life for hundreds of thousands of young immigrants across the country. It has been a gift to the communities they live in, which have prospered as immigrants have come out of the shadows and pursued new opportunities, be it a better job or an advanced degree. To revoke it is not just an affront to basic American values. It is an affront to basic human decency. The fact that in his announcement, Attorney General Sessions failed to provide any clarity on what would happen with the personal information of DACA recipients only underscores the cruelty of this decision. Make no mistake: ending DACA is nothing less than a declaration of war on immigrants.

Voces de la Frontera
“Since Trump and Sessions have openly embraced white supremacy throughout their careers, most recently by supporting Nazis and KKK members in Charlottesville and by pardoning Arpaio, this cruel, discriminatory attack on outstanding young people is sadly not surprising,” said Christine Neumann-Ortiz, Executive Director of Voces de la Frontera. “DACA recipients have shown perseverance, hard work, and compassion for their families and communities. In no way could they be perceived as threatening, and ending DACA exposes how dishonest Trump’s attacks on immigrants are in the most blatant way.”

Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and Immigration Chair Carlos Menchaca
“The termination of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program is an unconscionable step backwards that will destabilize communities and tear families apart. Repealing DACA would hurt hundreds of thousands of young immigrants, many of whom have spent the majority of their lives in the United States, and sends a dangerous message to DREAMers that their lives, contributions to the economy and vibrancy of our great nation are inconsequential to this White House. Once again, President Trump has demonstrated a complete disregard for immigrants, families, young people and all those who risked everything to come to the United States in search of a better life and higher education. While this White House continues to make clear that it is focused on punitive measures to limit the potential of our country, the New York City Council will continue to use every resource in our power to stand up for DREAMers, their families, and the American dream.”

Daniel Garza, President of The LIBRE Initiative
“Today’s announcement makes it even more important that leaders from both parties act to enact needed reforms. For the hundreds of thousands of immigrants directly affected by DACA, the uncertainty of their legal status continues to undercut their future. They know no other home than the United States. They were brought here through no fault of their own, and are now pursuing educational opportunities, or otherwise contributing to the economy and their communities.

Thomas A. Saenz, president and general counsel of MALDEF (Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund)
“Acting on tainted and biased ‘legal’ advice, Donald Trump caved to the overstated demands of the Texas attorney general and a dwindling number of other states. The fecklessness of the Trump White House and the Sessions Justice Department now endangers countless families, employers, and communities across the country. The Congress must act to take the long-overdue legislative steps necessary to protect a national asset – millions of home-grown, educated, and courageous young people ready to continue to build our economy and community. Congressional failure to act is not an acceptable outcome politically or morally. The state of Texas and the eight other states that maintained their disingenuous threat to sue must also be held accountable for their despicable role in this body blow to the nation.”

Center for Law and Social Policy Executive Director Olivia Golden
“DACA is supported by the majority of Americans because it is smart policy, not only for DACA youth, but also for their families, communities, and our country’s overall economy. A recent survey reveals that more than 90 percent of DACA youth are currently employed and nearly half are enrolled in school. In addition to contributing to the economy and helping support their parents and siblings, more than a quarter of DACA recipients are also parents raising young children, the majority of whom are U.S. citizens. Robbing DACA recipients of their ability to work and putting them at risk of deportation after they willingly—and in good faith—divulged personal identifying information to the government undermines our American values of justice and fairness and threatens our nation’s future prosperity.”

Jose Antonio Vargad and Define American
“From generation to generation, one thing has been proven: immigrants make America great. Over the last five years specifically, more than 800k young undocumented immigrants – who have lived here for many years and are American in all but paperwork – have finally been able to contribute their skills, energy and resources to this country without the constant fear of deportation. With DACA, these young people have been able to become students, nurses, teachers, police officers, members of the military and more, undoubtedly improving the lives of those around them and strengthening their communities. They make America better. But as a result of Donald Trump’s cruel and reckless decision to end DACA, there will be students wondering why their teacher can’t come to school anymore; patients wondering where their favorite nurse has gone. Robbing them of their ability to show up to work each day, contribute and earn money to support their families will not only upset their own lives and deprive them of the progress they have made toward achieving their American dream: it will also upset the lives of everyone around them. The president is going out of his way to sever human relationships and deprive our communities of some of their most valued members. Every American should be asking him: why?”

Richard Cohen, president of the Southern Poverty Law Center
“After equating neo-Nazis with anti-racist protesters and pardoning Joe Arpaio, we didn’t need any more proof of the malignant bigotry at the heart of President Trump’s agenda. But he’s provided it anyway, by ending the DACA program. This is one of the most senseless, heartless, inhumane acts of any president in recent memory. Many, perhaps most, of these young people know no other home. They’re Americans. Now, to appease his white nationalist supporters, he wants to throw them out of their country. Trump’s cruelty knows no bounds.”

Marcela Howell, founder and executive director of In Our Own Voice: National Black Women’s Reproductive Justice Agenda
“It is clear that Trump’s decisions are derived from a hate-fueled agenda focused on both a disdain for Hispanic immigrants and an obsession with erasing the legacy of the country’s first and only Black president. His obsession with discrediting President Obama — from years of leading the ‘birther’ rhetoric to attacks on Obamacare and now DACA — reveal motivations rooted in racism and bigotry. This administration’s incessant targeting of marginalized groups — including immigrants, LGBTQ people, women and people of color — is emblematic of the normalization of white supremacists in positions of power in the Trump era. We will continue to stand with immigrants, LGBTQ people, women and all who are targeted by Trump. We call on elected officials in Congress and across the country to join us in resisting Trump’s hateful vendetta against our immigrant sisters and brothers.”

Telemundo
“Telemundo stands with the 800,000 Dreamers who are integral to the economy, culture and spirit of our nation. We are disheartened by the decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. In addition to the human impact of this decision, repealing DACA will result in the loss of thousands of jobs in the United States and billions of dollars in economic growth over the next decade. We urge Congress to act swiftly to preserve the rights of these valuable members of our community. All of our elected representatives should be held accountable toward this end.”

The Education Trust–New York Executive Director Ian Rosenblum
“The federal Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program represents the promise of the American Dream – enabling 42,000 of our fellow New Yorkers to pursue an education, seek employment and make significant contributions to the economy. Putting these New Yorkers at risk is immoral, and by doing so the president has violated the most basic values that unite us as New Yorkers and Americans. We are grateful that Governor Cuomo and Attorney General Schneiderman have made clear that they intend to fight this cruel decision in court, and as advocates for ensuring that all New York students are protected and supported, we join Chancellor Rosa and Education Commissioner Elia in their call to ‘continue to fight for our Dreamers because it is the right thing to do.'”

Dan Stein, president of Federation for American Immigration Reform
“The Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) applauds the decision by President Trump to wind down the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. In our view, DACA was an unconstitutional abuse of executive authority by President Obama. Before implementing the program in 2012, President Obama stated on 22 previous occasions that he did not have the power to grant de facto amnesty and work authorization to entire classes of illegal aliens. His subsequent efforts to grant similar blanket deferments were found to be unconstitutional by the courts. As President Obama stated when he implemented DACA, there were no guarantees that the program would continue after he left office. President Trump repeatedly stated during the campaign that he would end DACA. The winding down period announced today will not only give DACA recipients time to get their affairs in order, but also gives Congress a unique opportunity to reengage in the immigration debate.”

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