Reactions to DACA Repeal: Protests, Walkouts, & Support From Surprising Sources

DACA protest supreme court

Getty Pro-immigration activists gather in front of the U.S. Supreme Court on April 18, 2016 in Washington, DC.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the repeal of the Deferred Action Childhood Arrivals Act (DACA) at a press conference on Tuesday after months of speculation that President Donald Trump would seek to end the program, which protects illegal immigrants who entered the U.S. before they were 16 from deportation. The repeal includes a six-month grace period before the policy becomes defunct, giving Congress a window to deliberate and pass alternate legislation.

The announcement has sparked a huge flurry of reactions on the internet and on the street; some with praise for the Trump administration and others with severe condemnation. Here is a roundup of the most notable reactions from politicians, business leaders, tech moguls, and more:

People Have Started Protesting, & Civil Rights Activists Are Angry

Students in Denver, Colorado, have walked out of class in protest of the repeal, with the local FOX News affiliate live-streaming the event:

According to the Denver Post, about 17,000 immigrants in Colorado are enrolled in DACA. Prior to the repeal, Colorado University issued a statement that they would continue to accept students “without regard to their immigrations status.”

Protestors outside the Department of Justice sat down in the middle of Pennsyvlania Avenue, impeding traffic and chanting “sí se puede,” the Spanish version of Obama’s iconic “yes we can” refrain that punctuated his 2008 campaign for president.

The protestors then moved to sit outside the U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement office:

Human rights organizations and activist have also widely panned the decision:

Politicians Have Mostly Responded Along Party Lines, Including Some Republicans Who Urged Trump to Keep DACA

Democratic politicians have almost across the board condemned the repeal in messages that range from outright antagonism toward the Trump administration, to words of encouragement for Congress to use the six-month stay to pass appropriate legislation protecting young immigrants.

Republicans have, in turn, come out with supportive statements for the Trump administration, even those like Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, who just days before urged Trump to keep DACA. “These are kids who know no other country, who were brought here by their parents and don’t know another home,” Ryan said in a radio interview with WCLO Janesville. The senator issued the following statement upon Sessions’ announcement of the repeal:

However well-intentioned, President Obama’s DACA program was a clear abuse of executive authority, an attempt to create law out of thin air. Just as the courts have already struck down similar Obama policy, this was never a viable long-term solution to this challenge. Congress writes laws, not the president, and ending this program fulfills a promise that President Trump made to restore the proper role of the executive and legislative branches

More Republican politicians chimed in calling DACA an overreach of the Obama administration’s power, including Senator Pat Toomey and Congressman Raul Labrador:

The decision also provoked some dissent within the Republican Party, with a statement from Senator John McCain condemning the action and a series of tweets from Senator Jeff Flake, who expressed support for a quick solution to the problem and a somewhat cryptic statement that “executive actions have a short shelf life”:

Business Leaders Are Also Chiming In, & The Tech Industry Plans to Fight

Days prior to Tuesday’s announcement, a group of top-tech industry influencers co-signed a letter to President Trump imploring him to keep DACA intact, including:

  • Tim Cook, CEO of Apple
  • Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook
  • Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon
  • Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google
  • Reed Hastings, CEO of Netflix
  • Jack Dorsey, CEO of Twitter,
  • John Zimmer & Logan Green, cofounders of Lyft
  • Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft
  • Meg Whitman, CEO of Hewlett

In a statement on his personal Facebook page, the social media network’s founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg wrote:

We need a government that protects Dreamers. Today I join business leaders across the country in calling on our President to keep the DACA program in place and protect Dreamers from fear of deportation. We’re also calling on Congress to finally pass the Dream Act or another permanent, legislative solution that Dreamers deserve.

More industry leaders panned the repeal in the media following the official announcement: