Photo Courtesy of the Justice Department
U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions called DACA “an open-ended circumvention of immigration laws.”
By Michael V. Cusenza
The Trump administration on Tuesday initiated the orderly phase out of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program—and elected New York officials roundly ripped the president for the move.
According to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, DACA is a policy developed during the Obama administration that allows certain people who came to the United States as children, and meet several guidelines, to request consideration of deferred action from deportation for two years, subject to renewal. They are also eligible for work authorization. Deferred action is a use of prosecutorial discretion to defer deportation for a certain period of time. Deferred action does not provide lawful status, USCIS noted.
“Such an open-ended circumvention of immigration laws was an unconstitutional exercise of authority by the Executive branch,” Attorney General Jeff Sessions said on Tuesday.
Many New York pols strongly disagreed.
“Today, my thoughts are with the thousands of young people across this country who have had their dreams for a better future dashed. President Trump’s decision to eliminate DACA places hundreds of thousands of young people at risk of being deported through no fault of their own,” said U.S. Rep. Grace Meng (D-Flushing). “Let’s be clear, DACA protected individuals who were brought to this country as children and who subsequently obeyed the law. Many earned degrees from American high schools and universities, and some even served in our military. These are exactly the type of individuals America should embrace, not turn away.”
City Comptroller Scott Stringer said DACA “is about the heart and soul” of the country.
“As an American, I’m stunned. As a father to two young children, I’m heartbroken. It’s hard to imagine the fear tens of thousands of New Yorkers, and hundreds of thousands of Americans, are feeling today as their White House targets them,” Stringer added. “But every Dreamer should know that we are prepared to fight. I will not give up — and New York City won’t give up.”
State Sen. Jose Peralta (D-East Elmhurst) characterized Trump’s decision to rescind DACA as “brutal and incomprehensible,” noting that it is “disheartening” to see how this president, “son and grandson of immigrants, just killed the hopes and dreams” of hundreds of thousands of people.
“The First Lady is an immigrant herself, so the action taken by President Trump is appalling,” the senator said.
Peralta also called the phase-out of DACA “economic suicide, since, according to a study by the Center for American Progress, DACA beneficiaries will contribute $460.3 billion to the U.S. gross domestic product over the next decade. DACA not only provides hope and opportunity, it boosts our economy and creates jobs.”
Meng later called Trump’s decision “profoundly irresponsible.”
“Robert F. Kennedy once remarked: ‘Our attitude towards immigration reflects our faith in the American ideal. We have always believed it possible for men and women who start at the bottom to rise as far as talent and energy allow. Neither race nor place of birth should affect their chances.’ As an elected representative of Queens, New York, and as the daughter of immigrants myself, I know this to be true,” Meng added. “America is not so small, or insecure, or diminished that it has no place for the next generation of dreamers and seekers within its borders. It is still, even despite today’s decision, a great nation. And our political leaders should begin conducting themselves as such.”