Local and federal leaders all offered their statements Tuesday morning after President Donald Trump’s administration announced it will stop processing new applications under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, program.
The Obama-era policy had protected about 800,000 young immigrants from deportation and gave them the ability to work legally in the U.S.
Trump gave Congress six months to come up with a legislative fix before the government stops renewing permits.
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, who planned to speak later in the day at a news conference, said in a statement he was now holding Congress accountable as well.
“Today, the President proved all his critics right: he lacks any sense of empathy, any devotion to a cause greater than himself,” Garcetti said. “But Congress need not sit passively by while families are torn apart. I have offered an amendment to defund any effort to deport the DREAMers. It’s time for Members of Congress to stand up and be counted.”
Los Angeles County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl, a former state assemblywoman and senator, suggested in her statement that Trump was simply catering to his base.
“It’s a sad day when the future of so many of this country’s finest young people is sacrificed to a marginal, mean-spirited group connected to the President’s far-right,” she said. “Still, it’s primarily a matter of fairness and humanity. These young people have been here all their lives. They are, in every way, American kids. Now it falls to Congress to keep DACA in place until legislators can pass a DREAM Act or immigration reform bill that ensures that these hardworking young people can continue to pursue their aspirations and contribute to America’s future.”
Some Republicans, such as U.S. Rep. Steve Knight, R-Palmdale, urged the president and Congress to keep the young people in mind as they review the program.
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“Many of the children impacted by the DACA program were brought to the United States and have known no other country,” Knight said. “Their status deserves a thorough and thoughtful review. While the program may be ending, it should still receive attention by Congress. I encourage my colleagues to take the opportunity to now review this policy closely to see the impact this decision will have on the affected children.”
But U.S. Rep. Adam Schiff D-Burbank, said Trump’s decision was cruel and his statement offered much harsher criticism.
“The President’s decision to end the DACA program is a cruel and arbitrary attack on DREAMers, designed to placate a narrow constituency and erase the legacy of his predecessor,” he said. “There is nothing in the law of constitution that compels such a result. If the President supported protecting these young people and felt Congressional action was necessary, he could have urged Congress to act long before now, not pulled the rug out from the DREAMers in such cruel fashion.”