By Nathaniel M. Valyo, National News Writer
On September 5, the Trump Administration announced that the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program would be rescinded.
Established in 2012 during the Obama Administration, the DACA program allowed nearly 800,000 undocumented immigrants, who came to the United States as children, to receive two-year work permits and protection from deportation. The program will not be entirely rescinded until March 5, 2018, but effective immediately, all applications for the DACA program will no longer be considered. However, immigrants whose benefits are set to expire within the six-month period are allowed to apply for renewal of their benefits until October 5. Beginning in early March, some immigrants who rely on DACA will lose their benefits entirely.
President Donald Trump denounced former President Barack Obama by stating that he created the DACA program through executive authority, bypassing Congress. President Trump also urged Congress to come up with a solution by giving them a six-month time frame, tweeting, “It is now time for Congress to act!”
U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the decision, stating, “This policy was implemented unilaterally to great controversy and legal concern after Congress rejected legislative proposals to extend similar benefits on numerous occasions to this same group of illegal aliens. The executive branch, through DACA, deliberately sought to achieve what the legislative branch specifically refused to authorize on multiple occasions. Such an open-ended circumvention of immigration laws was an unconstitutional exercise of authority by the executive branch.” In addition to denouncing the Obama Administration’s action, Sessions also said that those who benefit from the DACA program were taking the jobs that rightfully belong to U.S. citizens.
President Trump’s decision was applauded by supporters of stricter immigration laws, such as Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, who has strongly opposed President Obama’s decision since its implementation in 2012. Paxton stated, “I applaud President Trump for phasing out DACA … the Obama-era program went far beyond the executive branch’s legitimate authority. Had former President Obama’s unilateral order on DACA been left intact, it would have set a dangerous precedent by giving the executive branch sweeping authority to bypass Congress and change immigration laws.”
President Trump’s decision, however, was widely condemned by Democrats, some Republicans, business executives, and immigration rights activists.
Protests arose across the country, including in front of the White House and at Trump Tower in New York City. President Obama issued a public statement condemning President Trump’s action, saying, “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.”
In addition to President Obama’s statement, many government leaders have criticized President Trump’s action, including U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, a Democrat from New York. She stated that Mr. Trump “is needlessly targeting children who know no other country as home than America.” Gillibrand added, “This does not make our communities safer or our economy stronger. In fact, it does just the opposite.”
A version of this article appeared in the Tuesday, September 12th print edition.
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“…this does not make our communities safer or our economy stronger; in fact, it does just the opposite.”
– Senator Gillibrand (D, NY)