The Trump administration on Tuesday started winding down Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals(DACA), an Obama-era immigration program designed to protect undocumented immigrants who were brought into the United States as children. Trump invited Congress to preserve the program through legislation within six months.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions said the protections provided by former President Barack Obama's program were an "unconstitutional exercise of authority by the executive branch."
Local lawmakers have been weighing in on the decision throughout the day.
U.S. Senator Roy Blunt (R-MO)
“The young people in the DACA program need a permanent, commonsense solution that will allow them to continue working and going to school in the only country that many of them have ever known. The manner in which this program was created has left DACA recipients in legal limbo for too long, and Congress now has a responsibility to work toward a legislative solution. At the same time, it is imperative that we continue working with the president to strengthen our border security. Enhancing our border security will help facilitate progress toward addressing all aspects of our broken immigration system.”
U.S. Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL)
In my first conversation with President Trump on Inauguration Day, I thanked him for the positive things he had said about the Dreamers. He looked me in the eye and said: “Don't worry. We are going to take care of those kids.”
Despite many of the terrible immigration policies this Administration has put forward, I have always held out the hope that President Trump would keep his work and "take care" of the Dreamers. After all, the President told America, “we love the Dreamers.”
But today’s announcement from Attorney General Sessions was cold, harsh, threatening, and showed little respect, let alone love, for these Dreamers.
Starting this countdown clock will require Congress to act fast to stop rolling mass deportations of hundreds of thousands of young people—students, teachers, doctors, engineers, first responders, servicemembers, and more. Families will be torn apart and America will lose many of our best and brightest unless Republicans join with Democrats to right this wrong immediately. I first introduced the Dream Act sixteen years ago to ensure these young people could stay here, in the only country they’ve ever known. Now Congress must act on this bipartisan bill, and act now. These families cannot wait.
U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL)
“Make no mistake—this decision is not about ‘rule of law,’ as Attorney General Sessions claims. This is a gut-wrenching betrayal of American values that leaves nearly 800,000 of our neighbors vulnerable to deportation and tears families and communities apart.
“DREAMers and DACA recipients are doctors, teachers, students and Servicemembers. They have mortgages and jobs. They know only one nation: the United States, which is where they were raised. To end a program that allowed these patriots to come out of the shadows and more fully contribute to this country is irresponsible and heartless. Congress must act immediately and pass legislation to make DACA the law of the land.”
U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill (D-MO)
“Taking young people who were brought here through no fault of their own, and have never known another country, and kicking them out of America is as dumb as it is counterproductive. Over 90 percent of them are in school or working and many have proudly served our country in uniform. Republican leaders in Congress should use this opportunity to finally stop sitting on their hands and tackle this issue so there is certainty and the rule of law to allow these young people to keep contributing to America.”
U.S. Representative Mike Bost (R-IL 12th district)
Policies are only as durable as the process through which they are created. The confusion and uncertainty regarding the legal status of individuals affected by DACA is due in large part to the Obama administration’s insistence on sidestepping congressional authority. The House has already taken steps to make America safer, secure our borders and end sanctuary cities, but serious work remains. It is my sincere hope that the House and Senate, in coordination with the president, will find a just and reasonable solution for those affected by the DACA program, while also underscoring the importance of the rule of law.
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