All sides agree: Congress must act on ‘Dreamers’

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - DAILY LOCAL NEWS - By Alex Rose arose@21st-cen­tu­ry­ @arosedelco on Twit­ter

Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s de­ci­sion to “wind down” a pro­gram pro­tect­ing hun­dreds of thou­sands of young im­mi­grants who were brought into the coun­try il­le­gally as chil­dren drew sharp crit­i­cism Tues­day from state and lo­cal ac­tivists and leg­is­la­tors.

“Pres­i­dent Trump’s ac­tion to­day is an in­sult to Amer­ica and our val­ues,” said U.S. Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., in a state­ment. “This ac­tion is pro­foundly un­just, im­moral and with­out re­gard for ba­sic fair­ness.”

Pres­i­dent Barack Obama’s De­ferred Ac­tion for Child­hood Ar­rivals pro­gram, or DACA, has pro­vided nearly 800,000 young im­mi­grants a re­prieve from de-

por­ta­tion and the abil­ity to work legally in the U.S. since its en­act­ment in Au­gust 2012.

But At­tor­ney Gen­eral Jeff Ses­sions called the pro­gram “an un­con­sti­tu­tional ex­er­cise of author­ity” in mak­ing the an­nounce­ment that the gov­ern­ment will stop pro­cess­ing new DACA ap­pli­ca­tions Tues­day.

“The pol­icy was im­ple­mented uni­lat­er­ally, to great con­tro­versy and le­gal con­cern af­ter Congress re­jected leg­isla­tive pro­pos­als to ex­tend sim­i­lar ben­e­fits, on nu­mer­ous oc­ca­sions, to this same group of il­le­gal aliens,” Ses­sions said. “The ex­ec­u­tive branch, through DACA, de­lib­er­ately sought to achieve what the leg­isla­tive branch specif­i­cally re­fused to au­tho­rize on mul­ti­ple oc­ca­sions. Such an open-ended cir­cum­ven­tion of im­mi­gra­tion laws was an un­con­sti­tu­tional ex­er­cise of author­ity by the ex­ec­u­tive branch.”

“The re­vo­ca­tion of DACA by our pres­i­dent is just one more in­di­ca­tion that all of us who be­lieve in Amer­ica’s high­est ideals must push back with all the power we have to pass the Dreamer Act,” said U.S. Rep. Bob Brady, D-1, of Philadel­phia. “The Dreamers should not be aban­doned and thrown back be­cause of the petty and short-sighted whims of our pres­i­dent.”

Trump promised to end the pro­gram dur­ing his cam­paign, but has since ex­pressed sym­pa­thy for those brought to the United States il­le­gally as chil­dren. He in­di­cated in a tweet that it would now be up to Congress to de­cide the fate of those pro­tected by the pro­gram, say­ing, “Congress, get ready to do your job - DACA!”

Casey sug­gested law­mak­ers should meet that man­date by im­me­di­ately mov­ing to pass the De­vel­op­ment, Re­lief, and Ed­u­ca­tion for Alien Mi­nors, or DREAM, Act, which could grant per­ma­nent le­gal sta­tus to more than 1 mil­lion young peo­ple who ar­rived in the United States be­fore they turned 18 if they pass se­cu­rity checks and met other cri­te­ria, in­clud­ing en­rolling in col­lege, join­ing the mil­i­tary or find­ing jobs.

“The ‘Dreamers’ are young peo­ple who have lived in our coun­try since they were chil­dren,” said Casey. “They have been law-abid­ing res­i­dents who have learned English, paid taxes and se­cured jobs that al­low them to sup­port them­selves and their fam­i­lies. Our gov­ern­ment promised them that they would be pro­tected if they came for­ward and now Pres­i­dent Trump is break­ing that prom­ise.”

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