President Obama, just like his predecessors, tried to get Congress to pass comprehensive immigration reform. With Congress failing to act on immigration, President Obama started the DACA program to alleviate the hardships of young undocumented immigrants who were brought to the US as children and grew up in the US. This program has wide popular support and has benefited 800,000 young unauthorized immigrants.
DACA is a popular program since it helps unauthorized immigrants who came to the country as children and grew up with American children, going to the same schools and having similar life experiences. These children are American in everything except name and citizenship. The program shielded them from removal and allowed them to work and go to school. President Trump himself described DACA recipients as “incredible kids”.
DACA beneficiaries are also known as DREAMERS, named after the DREAM Act that failed to pass in the Congress. President Trump said that his decision on DACA is meant to send a message to Congress to act on immigration reform. The very existence of DACA is the result of Congress’s failure to act on immigration.
“We are deeply troubled by President Trump’s decision that needlessly and cruelly injects uncertainty and anxiety about the future into the lives of hundreds of thousands of decent and hard working young men and women,” said Imad Hamad, AHRC Executive Director. “President Trump should use his negotiation skills to spur Congress to action rather than use the lives of hundreds of thousands of innocent young men and women as a political football and a tool to make a political statement. It’s simply inhumane and unAmerican,” added Hamad.
Link to New York Times article on Trump and DACA: