Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced Tuesday that the Trump administration is ending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (or DACA) program. DACA is an Obama-era policy protecting undocumented immigrants who arrived in the U.S. as children. In 2012, President Obama introduced DACA as an executive action. Since the program started, it has provided about 800,000 undocumented youth with renewable, two-year work permits and a shield from deportation.
Elected state and federal officials reacted to President Donald Trump’s decision to end the Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals program with a mixture of disdain and hope that Congress will quickly act to support the program.
Democrats were virtually unanimous in their sharp criticism of Trump and the decision to end the program, while Republicans mostly stayed away from condemning Trump, but urged Congress to take action to protect young immigrants who came to the U.S. with their parents, who remain undocumented.
Here are some of their comments:
“One path to success and prosperity looks different than the next, which should be celebrated and encouraged. Many are working toward success under the existing DACA, and for the certainty of their future Congress should act quickly to authorize and clarify their status.” Gov. Rick Snyder
“The Obama administration’s DACA program was an abuse of executive power — a unilateral unconstitutional order. I believe substantive immigration reform must go through the proper legislative process. It is Congress’ responsibility to create a permanent, level-headed legislative solution, one that provides certainty and helps fix America’s broken immigration system.” U.S. Rep. David Trott, R-Birmingham
“The only way to achieve concrete and lasting immigration reform is for Congress to formulate and pass bipartisan legislation. It is my hope that both Republicans and Democrats will rise to the challenge and focus on crafting solutions that move us forward instead of engaging in rhetoric that is geared toward dividing our nation.” U.S. Rep. Bill Huizenga, R-Zeeland
It “contradicts the values of this country. It also contradicts the notion that if you work hard … you’ll have opportunity in this country.” Nikolai Vitti, superintendent of Detroit Public Schools Community District
“With Attorney General Sessions’ statement today, the Trump administration has confirmed it is the most anti-immigrant administration in generations. The anti-immigrant rhetoric of this administration is not what our nation is about, and they are wrong as a matter of law and policy.” U.S. Rep. John Conyers, D-Detroit
“Ending DACA without a guarantee of congressional action means that these nurses, teachers, engineers, students, first responders, members of the military and others could be ripped out of our communities and forced back into the shadows, facing at best an uncertain future, and at worst deportation to countries they do not know. This is not just backward policy that will harm our economy, but an inhumane action that jeopardizes the security of families across the country.” State Rep. Stephanie Chang, D-Detroit
“For these young men and women, the United States is their home. They’ve been raised in our neighborhoods, attended our schools, served in our military and worked in our communities. I’ve met with countless concerned individuals impacted by DACA and heard from local universities, restaurant and small-business owners, as well as my farmer friends who all agree we must take care of these folks. This is why I’ve long supported using a compassionate but accountable way to legislatively address these undocumented minors brought to our country through no fault of their own.” U.S. Rep. Fred Upton, R-St. Joseph
“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.” Dan Stein, president of the Federation for American Immigration Reform
“Congress can and must act to fix our broken immigration system, including passing legislation to protect Dreamers. Speaker Ryan should immediately act on legislation protecting these children from deportation. Congress failing to act will mean that Republicans are just as much to blame as President Trump for this cruel and un-American policy.” U.S. Rep. Dan Kildee, D-Flint Township
“Congress must come together with businesses, universities and lawmakers of both parties to protect these individuals. This is not only the right thing for these young people, but for our country and our economic competitiveness — now and in the future.” U.S. Rep. Debbie Dingell, D-Dearborn
“Our Constitution vests all legislative powers in Congress. Let’s work together to responsibly address #DACA and other immigration matters.” U.S. Rep. Justin Amash, R-Cascade Township
“Immigration has always been fundamental to our U.S. story. I stand behind our young Dreamers, and we will continue to fight for the comprehensive immigration reform our nation so urgently needs.” U.S. Rep. Brenda Lawrence, D-Southfield
“Wrong for admin to pull rug out from under children & young people who came to America undocumented through no fault of their own. #DACA” U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-East Lansing
“I strongly disagree with today’s decision, which is unfair to thousands of Michiganders who voluntarily came out of the shadows and only creates instability for these young people who are now at risk of losing the only home they have ever known.” U.S. Sen. Gary Peters, D-Bloomfield Township
“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 … 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.” Former President Barack Obama
“These are young people who have studied hard, worked hard and already made great contributions to our country. People across our nation, from every political background and walk of life, agree that they should be given the opportunity to stay here and become Americans. I urge political leaders in Washington to step forward and do what’s right and to extend legal protection to Dreamers once and for all.” State House Minority Leader Sam Singh, D-East Lansing
“President Trump’s decision is reprehensible. Instead of taking the lead and pledging to work with Congress to make sure that 800,000 young people can live out their dreams in the only nation they have really known, the president puts forth the whip of deportation.” U.S. Rep. Sander Levin, D-Royal Oak
“With one action, the president has turned the American Dream into a nightmare. Ripping 800,000 people away from work and school, and potentially forcing them out of the only country they’ve ever called home is not the way to fix our immigration system.” State Rep. Abdullah Hammoud, D-Dearborn
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