It was devastating enough for documented immigrants when Hurricane Harvey ripped through Houston’s corridors. Now, with the announcement that the Trump administration will rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, the undocumented immigrants, the “Dreamers,” will experience another blow, this one portending mass deportation.
Tuesday, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, at the Justice Department, said, “I am here today to announce that the program known as DACA that was effectuated under the Obama administration is being rescinded.”
Beyond the unsettling impact it will have on some 800,000 undocumented immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children—the Dreamers, —the key words above are “effectuated under the Obama administration,” and are another example not only of Trump’s-mean-spirited hostility to certain ethnic groups but also of his overall purpose of eradicating every semblance of the previous administration.
Trump blamed Obama for creating the program through an executive authority and urged Congress to resolve the situation.
Sessions said the Department of Homeland Security will stop processing any new applications for DACA as of Tuesday. The action was roundly and loudly condemned.
At least 42,000 dreamers reside in New York City according to New York State Attorney General Schneiderman.
Immediately, the protests erupted across the nation. The Rev. Al Sharpton, president of the National Action Network, was among the first to voice his anger about the decision.
“The Trump administration and Attorney General Sessions’ decision today to ‘rescind’ DACA is but another example of an anti-equal opportunity, anti-civil rights agenda that has no basis in fact,” Sharpton said. “There is no evidence that Dreamers steal away American jobs. There is evidence, however, that 91 percent of Dreamers are employed and contribute to the American economy. The National Action Network will do everything in its power to support the rights of Dreamers looking to work and be a part of the American dream.”
Sharpton also, in effect, anticipated Trump’s congressional suggestion, stating, “The goal of members of Congress should be ensuring that DACA is a strong and reliable protection for immigrant youth, and stopping this administration’s mass deportation agenda. We must hold Congress accountable to prevent these attacks on the vulnerable and develop an effective policy for DACA recipients that will avoid these punitive effects on their lives and families.”
There are some early indications that GOP members of Congress reject rescinding the program, mainly worried about how it will affect the midterm elections.
Noted immigration attorney Brian Figeroux told the AmNews, “As a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association for two decades, I am saddened by President Trump’s disdain for young immigrants, mostly Blacks and Hispanics, who former President Barack Obama, granted relief to legally work under DACA, while the DREAM Act lingered in Congress. This, unfortunately, is the same president, Donald Trump, who stood with the KKK in all the violence in Charlottesville, Va., not condemning the KKK. Again, unfortunately, President Trump has shown the American people his true colors at the expense of innocent youths.”
The founder of Figeroux & Associate stated, “As of Sept. 5, 2017, the government will no longer process any new DACA applications. Individuals who currently have DACA will be permitted to retain their status until the current expiration date listed on the Employment Authorization Document. DACA recipients whose EADs expires before March 5, 2018, will be permitted to apply for renewal, but the renewal application must be filed before Oct. 5, 2017. DACA recipients with an EAD that expires after March 5, 2018, will not be permitted to renew their status. At this point, we understand the announcement to mean that after March 5, 2018, when DACA recipients’ EAD expires, they will return to whatever unauthorized status they possessed at the time they acquired DACA.”
He urged those under the threat to “meet with an attorney to reassess their immigration status.” He added, “Individuals who may not have been eligible for alternate forms of relief when initially granted DACA may now be eligible due to changed circumstances [such as travel on advanced parole].”
Because thousands now find themselves living with increased uncertainty, Figeroux told the AmNews that he is offering “free evaluation on DACA” at 855-768-8845.
Dreamers woke up nervous that Trump’s decision would be negative, but by afternoon their fear turned to outrage and trepidation.
It is a ruling of which consequences, The New York Times reported, aides said Trump had little understanding as late as an hour before it was announced. Striking down the Obama-era program has effectively halted 800,000 young people’s pathway to citizenship, but under the risk of deportation.
“The Trump administration is once again showing its blatant disregard for human lives by championing a policy deeply rooted in hate and illogic,” said Public Advocate Letitia James. “DACA provides young undocumented immigrants who were brought to this country the ability to pursue an education, support their families and fully contribute to our society. These individuals put trust in our government to protect them, and deporting them is truly reprehensible. Not only is this an attack on hundreds of thousands who have only known America as home, but it is an attack on our economy, which depends on the contributions of DACA recipients.”
Congressman Gregory Meeks said in statement, that he was “deeply disappointed in President Trump’s decision to upend and kick out Dreamers, tearing families apart.”
The statement continued, “DACA allowed 800,000 children the opportunity to attend school and contribute to our society. Not only do they add tremendous value to our economy, but they are also our friends, neighbors, and classmates.”
The decision, Meeks added, “is once again demonstrating an utter lack of sympathy and a failure to uphold American values.”
He concluded, “I look forward to working with my Democratic and Republican colleagues in Congress to pass legislation as soon as possible to restore those protections and grant a pathway to citizenship for Dreamers. It’s now up to Congress to make clear that America is still a land of opportunity for all.”
The Student Assembly of the State University of New York said in a statement that it “strongly reaffirms its support for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.” The statement continued, “Since 2012, DACA has worked to help students, regardless of their immigration status, to access primary and secondary educational opportunities. The program has allowed these students to innovate and invent, to contribute to our economy and to work toward a better life for themselves and their families. These Americans came out of the shadows because they were promised legal protections. Pulling the rug out from beneath them would be a historic betrayal.”
Saying that they “condemn the hateful rhetoric against undocumented students that emanates from the halls of power in Washington” the SUNY SA added that they “encourage our federal leaders to act legislatively with all deliberate speed to protect these Americans and the vital role they play in our country.”
As protestors took over the street in front of Trump Tower in Manhattan, and Foley Square, students in Denver walked out of school, and there were rallies as far as Southern California.