WASHINGTON — Asian Pacific American members of Congress and civil rights organizations are speaking out against the Trump Administration’s decision — announced by Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Tuesday — that it is rescinding the DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) program instituted by President Obama.
Current beneficiaries of the DACA program will not be affected until March 5, 2018. Within these six months, it will be up to Congress to pass new legislation regarding the future of these DREAMers and other immigrants. However, no new applications to DACA will be accepted. The legislation is called the DREAM (Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors) Act.
Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii): “After months of empty rhetoric to the contrary, the President took the cruel and unnecessary step to eliminate DACA – exposing more than 800,000 young people to deportation. They are not criminals. They are inspiring young people aptly called DREAMers because of their dream of making a better life for themselves in the only country they know.
“Ending DACA is the latest step this president has taken to attack minority communities and stoke the fear and divisiveness that served as pillars of his campaign and inform his presidency.
“DACA is clearly constitutional. But by rescinding the program, the president puts the onus on Congress to act. Congress must take appropriate action to provide permanent legal status to DREAMers.
“I want to be clear: I reject any effort to hold these young people hostage for an unnecessary waste of money like Donald Trump’s wall. I will continue to stand with these inspiring young people and groups all across the country to fight this latest cruel and totally unjustifiable action by the president.”
Rep. Judy Chu (D-Pasadena), chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus: “The Trump Administration’s decision to rescind DACA is a cruel and devastating blow to the nearly 800,000 young Americans currently enrolled in the program. This indefensible action is an open attack on America’s immigrant communities and undermines our core values as a nation.
“By definition, DREAMers contribute to the economy and obey our laws. By ending the DACA program, President Trump betrays his true motives. This is not about the economy or crime; rather he only seeks to further his xenophobic, anti-immigrant agenda, which continues to tear families apart.
“DREAMers are deeply woven into the fabric of our nation, including the many undocumented Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders who arrived in the United States as children through no fault of their own. Thanks to DACA, many of these DREAMers have been able to come out of the shadows, give back to their communities, contribute to our society, and strengthen our nation.
“Targeting these individuals for deportation is both morally reprehensible and disruptive to our economy. Further, we will not be extorted by this danger and allow these Americans to be used as bargaining chips to further the president’s anti-immigrant goals, including the construction of an immoral and divisive border wall.
“I call upon Republican leadership in Congress to join with Democrats to take immediate action to protect our nation’s DREAMers. There are already bipartisan, bicameral proposals like the DREAM Act of 2017 which are ready to be voted on. We must pass a permanent legislative solution to ensure that our nation’s DREAMers can continue to pursue their dreams without fear of deportation.”
Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), CAPAC Immigration Task Force chair: “President Trump is destroying the future of nearly 800,000 young men and women who were brought here by their parents and know no other country but this one. After toying with their futures and raising their hopes with talk of his ‘big heart,’ Donald Trump has shown exactly what his priorities are. He has once again sided with hate and xenophobia, putting in place a repeal that is cruel, inhumane and unjust.
“Over the last five years, DACA has improved the lives of hundreds of thousands of people who came to this country as children. This doesn’t even account for the ripple effect it has had on the family and friends of DACA recipients or the positive impact of DACA on our society more broadly. Across the nation, companies, schools and communities have greatly benefited from the talent, skill and unique perspective of the young people granted DACA status in America. The moral cost of repealing DACA is immeasurable. Economically, our country will lose $460.3 billion in GDP over the next decade from this repeal.
“I call on my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to immediately pass stand-alone legislation to protect DREAMers.
“Let me be clear: Our immigrant brothers and sisters are here to stay. Not only are they welcome in our communities – they are essential to our communities. I will continue to fight alongside DREAMers and the immigrant rights movement. I ask my Republican colleagues to consider which side of justice they wish to be on, and join us in passing legislation to protect DREAMers once and for all.”
Rep. Mark Takano (D-Riverside): “President Trump’s decision to end the DACA program is a case study in cruelty and cowardice. If the president believes – like a vast majority of Americans – that law-abiding and productive young immigrants should not be thrown out of the country, then he should have stood by the DACA program. Instead, nearly one million young people will be forced to live in fear of the future because President Trump lives in fear of upsetting the extreme ideologues in his base.
“DREAMers are our co-workers, classmates, and neighbors. Their families are here. They have built their lives here. For many of these young people, America is the only country they have ever called home. Turning our backs on DREAMers is a stain on America’s conscience and an affront to common decency. It is un-American.
“Ending DACA will also severely damage our economy. More than 90 percent of the young immigrants protected through the DACA program are in the workforce. They strengthen our communities, contribute to our economy, and embody the power of immigration to support American prosperity. This decision could cost California $11 billion every year, according to a study by the Center for American Progress.
“Republicans in Congress have expressed support for DACA kids with their words, but not through their actions. Now is their chance to do what is right. Congress must stand with these young people and demonstrate that – at its heart – America is a fair, strong, and compassionate nation.”
Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Los Angeles): “As an immigrant to the United States brought here when I was three years old, I know that our nation’s embrace of immigrants is what makes it great. Trump’s cowardly decision to end DACA goes against the very forces that have made America an exceptional country. Deporting hundreds of thousands of Asians and Latinos — nearly half of whom were brought to the U.S. before the age of 7 — is not only cruel, it will hurt our economy. One report estimates an economic loss of $460 billion over the next decade.
“I stand firmly with my Democratic colleagues to fight this action and do whatever we can to protect DREAMers. I call on Speaker [Paul] Ryan to work with Democrats to extend the DACA program through legislation.”
Rep. Doris Matsui (D-Sacramento): “The story of our country’s progress is inseparably linked to the contributions of millions of immigrants from all over the world. The hard work, ambition, and hope that people have brought to America have propelled us forward since our founding.
“Today, by heartlessly denying young DREAMers, the president has turned his back on who we are as a nation. Democrats continue to stand ready in Congress to protect DREAMers and stop President Trump from ripping families apart and denying people opportunities to contribute to our country.”
Rep. Ami Bera (D-Sacramento): “This decision by the Trump Administration goes against our American values, plain and simple. Children brought to the United States – through no fault of their own – deserve our compassion. These children have passed background checks and are already contributing to our economy as productive residents. Detaining and deporting children is not only morally wrong, it doesn’t make economic sense. I urge the administration to reverse this decision immediately.”
Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Santa Clara): “Since 2012, nearly 800,000 young people who immigrated to this country have had the opportunity to go to school, gain employment, and continue on with their lives minus the fear of deportation. Today, the Trump Administration once again shows it has no dignity for our friends, neighbors, and colleagues. We must safeguard the livelihood of DREAMers and provide these inspiring young people and their courageous parents a pathway to citizenship.”
Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.): “DACA recipients make our nation strong and represent the best of America. The president’s decision undermines our nation’s values and is a cruel betrayal to the more than 800,000 young people, including more than 200,000 Californians, who have only ever known the United States of America as their home.
“DREAMers are Americans in every way except a piece of paper. With this decision, President Trump is telling classmates of our children they don’t belong, employees of Fortune 100 companies they aren’t welcome, and saying to those who serve in our military and run small businesses that they should leave. These young people deserve better than that. They came out of the shadows and submitted every detail of their personal lives to prove that they were lawful, productive members of our society. By turning his back on our young Dreamers and their families, President Trump has once again sided with division and hate.
“The consequences of this decision will be devastating. It will split up families, force young people back to countries they never knew, and cost our economy billions of dollars. It is heartless.
“Now more than ever, it is time we roll up our sleeves and stand with these young people who contribute to our community and our economy. Republicans in Congress must immediately allow a vote on the DREAM Act, a bipartisan bill we introduced again this summer. We are better than this.”
Rep. Colleen Hanabusa (D-Hawaii): “President Trump’s heartless and unnecessary decision to end the DACA program, while giving Congress an opportunity to act, belies the history behind DACA. Speaker Ryan can express sympathy for ‘those who have done nothing wrong,’ but the reality is Speaker Ryan and 197 other House Republicans voted against the 2010 DREAM Act.
“If House Republicans want to solve this injustice, they should bring the DREAM Act to the House floor immediately and end the uncertainty caused by President Trump’s ill-advised DACA decision.
“DREAMers are young men and women with real lives, jobs, businesses, families and hopes for their future. Many DREAMers have spent more time in the United States than in their home countries. For President Trump to threaten to turn these DREAMers out is unconscionable, but par for the course for a president who has done more to divide this country than unite it.
“I stand with DREAMers and encourage my Republican colleagues to bring the DREAM Act to the floor now.”
Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii): “President Trump’s decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program is wrong. It will break up families and punish young people who were brought to this country as minors through no choice or fault of their own. These are people who have grown up in the United States, and who know no other country to be their home. DACA transformed the lives and futures of hundreds of thousands of young people, in Hawaii and across the country. Because of DACA they’ve been able to go to college, find a job, support their family, serve their country, and live free from the constant fear of deportation.