DACA: Gillibrand Condemns Trump For Targeting Youth for "Crass Partisan Points”

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Donald Trump. Photo: Gage Skidmore-Flickr

Donald Trump's announcement that his administration will end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program -- it allows certain undocumented immigrants who entered the country as minors to get renewable two-year period of deferred deportation action and grants work permits-- created by President Obama administration five years ago, has been condemned.

Trump said he would end the program in six months.

“President Trump’s action today is an affront to who we are as Americans," senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) said. "He is needlessly targeting children who know no other country as home than America. This does not make our communities safer or our economy stronger. In fact, it does just the opposite. Congress must lead where the President won't and pass the DREAM Act. America does not merely tolerate immigration – we thrive on it, and we are better than needlessly targeting hardworking young adults to score crass partisan points.”

Meanwhile, Governor Andrew Cuomo and the State Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman in a joint statement before the announcement that DACA would be ended said New York would sue the Trump administration.

Cuomo said ending DACA would "rip families apart, sow havoc in our communities and force innocent people, our neighbors, our friends, and our relatives, to live in fear." He added: "We should not and cannot sit on the sidelines and watch the lives of these young people ruined. We have both a legal and moral obligation to make sure that the laws are faithfully executed without discrimination or animus. In New York, we are stepping up to protect immigrants. This year, we launched the first in the nation Liberty Defense Project to ensure all immigrants have access to quality legal representation, regardless of their status. New Yorkers know that we are a nation of immigrants. If there is a move to deport immigrants, then I say start with me. I come from a family of immigrants who came to this country without jobs, without money, without resources—seeking only the promise of America embodied by the Lady in our Harbor. New York has and will continue to raise the torch of hope and opportunity, not fear, and we open our arms to all who want to join our community."

"More than 40,000 New Yorkers are protected under DACA," Schneiderman said. "They pay more than $140 million in state and local taxes. They are vital members of our community. The poem at the base of the Statue of Liberty, written by the descendant of early Jewish immigrants, promises this nation will lift its lamp for the huddled masses. New York will never break that promise. And neither will my office."

“The President previously said that Dreamers have little reason to worry because he has a big heart. Today’s decision belies that statement and makes clear the callous and hateful ideology that is driving this Administration’s policies," said Rep. Nydia M. Velázquez (D-N.Y.) "Not only is this decision a moral affront, but this policy, if it takes effect, will cause billions of dollars of economic damage. It is telling that business leaders from a range of sectors have united in opposition DACA’s rescission. Where the President has failed to show moral leadership, Congress must step forward.  In coming weeks, I will be working with my Democratic colleagues to push the Republican leadership to allow for an up-or-down vote on a clean DREAM Act, so these young people, the face of America, are protected.”

“Today, President Trump has formally ended the DACA program that gave hope and a future to hundreds of thousands of young people who are American in every way except their legal status," said Frank Sharry, executive director of America’s Voice Education Fund.  "In an act of moral and political cowardice, Trump reached a new low of malice by crushing the dreams of 800,000 young people who are as American as you and I. After mainstreaming white nationalism in his response to Charlottesville and undermining our justice system with his pardon of racist Joe Arpaio, Trump has turned his hate on the young men and women who we have come to know as Dreamers."

He added: “No one should fall for the White House spin that there was a modicum of humanity embedded in their decision today. There is no middle ground or equivocation when it comes to Dreamers. It’s a time for choosing, and we all should stand with Dreamers in today, their time of need, and push Congress to advance a clean, bipartisan, and permanent bill to extend the protections and opportunities they deserve and we all benefit from.”

“We didn’t win DACA or other pro-immigrant policies by cowering in fear or hiding who we are. We won them by standing up for what was right and just, and by providing hundreds of thousands of examples of why America benefits from immigrants of all backgrounds," said Juan Escalante, a DACA recipient and America’s Voice Digital Campaigns Manager. "Like 800,000 others, DACA has helped changed my life and charted a new future for me and my family. President Trump and anti-immigrant allies can take away my DACA status, but they can’t take away our resolve to keep fighting on behalf of our families and our futures or building off the successes of DACA to this, the next chapter of our struggle. For the immigrants and Dreamers reading this, I urge you to join me and push back against this attack on our communities. We cannot allow our anxiety and fears to obstruct us from the continued fights ahead of us." 

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