Former President Barack Obama spoke out against the Trump Administration’s decision to repeal DACA, or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, within six months unless Congress acts to keep it in place.
The program was put in place through an executive order in 2012 by then-President Obama. It allows undocumented immigrants who arrived in the country with their parents at a young age to obtain work permits and stay in the country.
“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. What if our kid’s science teacher, or our friendly neighbor turns out to be a Dreamer? Where are we supposed to send her? To a country she doesn’t know or remember, with a language she may not even speak?” Obama wrote on his Facebook page on Tuesday.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions formally announced the termination of the program at a press conference on Tuesday.
“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,” Sessions said, according to CBS News.
Trump later released a statement outlining his reasons for eliminating the program, which could affect some 800,000 undocumented immigrants:
In the best interests of our country, and in keeping with the obligations of my office, the Department of Homeland Security will begin an orderly transition and wind-down of DACA, one that provides minimum disruption.
While new applications for work permits will not be accepted, all existing work permits will be honored until their date of expiration up to two full years from today. Furthermore, applications already in the pipeline will be processed, as will renewal applications for those facing near-term expiration. This is a gradual process, not a sudden phase out. Permits will not begin to expire for another six months, and will remain active for up to 24 months. Thus, in effect, I am not going to just cut DACA off, but rather provide a window of opportunity for Congress to finally act.
Read Obama’s full statement here: