'This Is Evil': Immigrant Rights Advocates Blast Trump's Decision to End DACA
"This is one of the most senseless, heartless, inhumane acts of any president in recent memory."
Immigrant rights advocates, legal experts, politicians, and others quickly denounced the Tuesday announcement by Attorney General Jeff Sessions that Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), an Obama-era program for undocumented immigrants brought to the United States as youth to delay deportation and apply for work permits, is being rescinded.
"With this move, Trump is fulfilling a sick white supremacist scheme to terrorize young people of color. But make no mistake—we will not be pushed into the shadows by these racist politicians."
—Cristina Jimenez, United We Dream
Following Sessions' confirmation of the highly anticipated decision at an 11am press briefing on Tuesday, critics condemned the administration's move and called on Congress to take action before DACA's termination fully takes effect following its "wind down process."
"[President Donald] Trump has already embraced white supremacy, defended it, and institutionalized it in the White House. Ending DACA—which exposes young immigrants who grew up in the U.S. to deportation—is but an extension of this effort," said Judith Browne Dianis, executive director of Advancement Project’s national office.
However, "Trump does not understand who he is messing with," Dianis added, noting that those who organized in favor of DACA's implementation under former President Barack Obama "have already built alliances, strengthened movements, upended politics and shaped presidencies."
Cristina Jimenez, executive director of United We Dream, the nation's largest youth-led immigrant group, said: "With this move, Trump is fulfilling a sick white supremacist scheme to terrorize young people of color. But make no mistake—we will not be pushed into the shadows by these racist politicians. This is our home and we are here to stay."
Jimenez also called on Congress to "pass legislation to protect immigrant youth without any racist gimmicks."
Swift condemnation of the decision was accompanied by demands that Congress craft legislation that will not only offer protections to those eligible for DACA, but also the several other millions of undocumented immigrants who live in the United States.
Although threatened legal challenges to the DACA decision could delay its impact, in addition to concerns about how this will influence the lives of thousands—possibly millions—of immigrants, there are also considerable concerns about the estimated economic cost of ending DACA, as well as the impact on labor conditions.
"President Donald Trump's move to terminate DACA and strip work authorization away from 800,000 productive members of our society is cruel and wrong," said AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka. "This indefensible act will make our workplaces less fair and less safe, and will undermine our freedom to join together and fight to raise wages and standards."
Many took to Twitter even before Sessions finished the Tuesday morning briefing to weigh in:
This is evil. There are no other words for it.
— Leah Greenberg (@Leahgreenb) September 5, 2017
— Cristina Jimenez (@CrisAlexJimenez) September 5, 2017
Jeff Sessions, who lead the filibuster of legislative DREAM Act in 2010, is now saying Congress should act.
— Joshua Israel (@jeisrael) September 5, 2017
— SPLC (@splcenter) September 5, 2017
— Elizabeth Warren (@SenWarren) September 5, 2017
— Ted Lieu (@tedlieu) September 5, 2017
— Senator Jeff Merkley (@SenJeffMerkley) September 5, 2017
Congress must act NOW and pass legislation to make #DACA the law of the land
— Tammy Duckworth (@SenDuckworth) September 5, 2017
— Legal Defense Fund (@NAACP_LDF) September 5, 2017
— Public Citizen (@Public_Citizen) September 5, 2017