1,850 U.S. lead­ers to Trump: Let them DREAM

USA TODAY US Edition - - FRONT PAGE - Alan Gomez

More than 1,850 lead­ers na­tion­wide from around the coun­try pleaded with Pres­i­dent Trump on Wed­nes­day to pre­serve an Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion pro­gram that pro­tects DREAM- ers from de­por­ta­tion.

Trump is con­sid­er­ing end­ing the De­ferred Ac­tion for Child­hood Ar­rivals pro­gram, or DACA., cre­ated by Pres­i­dent Obama. It has granted de­por­ta­tion pro­tec­tions to nearly 800,000 un­doc­u­mented im­mi­grants brought to the coun­try as chil­dren.

Eight gov­er­nors, five state at­tor­neys gen­eral, more than 130 may­ors, 230 state leg­is­la­tors, and a slew of faith lead­ers, judges, po­lice chiefs and sher­iffs signed onto a state­ment ask­ing the pres­i­dent to re­con­sider.

The vast ma­jor­ity of the sign­ers are Democrats, in­clud­ing all the gov­er­nors and at­tor­neys gen­eral. They rep­re­sent states rang­ing from Cal­i­for­nia and Ore­gon to Min­nesota, New York and Vir­ginia. The list in­cludes sev­eral Repub­li­cans as well, such as Mi­ami Mayor To­mas Re­gal­ado and Aurora (Colo.) Mayor Steve Ho­gan.

In the let­ter, the group high­lights the eco­nomic con­tri­bu­tions Dream­ers have made to their com­mu­ni­ties since the pro­gram was cre­ated in 2012. They said the U.S. econ­omy would lose

$460 bil­lion over the next decade if DACA were ter­mi­nated. In ad­di­tion, busi­nesses would in­cur

$3.4 bil­lion in turnover costs to re­place their DACA em­ploy­ees, who are given work per­mits un­der the pro­gram, the let­ter said.

Most im­por­tantly, the sign­ers stressed the moral obli­ga­tion of the United States to pro­tect those un­doc­u­mented im­mi­grants, call­ing an end of the pro­gram “sense­lessly cruel.”

“Five years ago, we made a prom­ise to them that they could con­tinue to stay here and work to­wards achiev­ing their Amer­i­can dreams,” said Wash­ing­ton Gov. Jay Inslee, a Democrat. “Now there are na­tional lead­ers cru­elly threat­en­ing to break that prom­ise, a move that would fly in the face of ev­ery­thing we stand for as a na­tion that wel­comes those seek­ing op­por­tu­nity for a bet­ter life.

“As gov­er­nor, I will do ev­ery­thing I can to keep our Dream­ers safe here, at home,” Inslee said.

The DACA pro­gram grants two-year stays for un­doc­u­mented im­mi­grants brought to the USA be­fore their 16th birth­day who have at­tended school or joined the mil­i­tary and have not com­mit­ted any se­ri­ous crimes. It also grants them work per­mits.

The pro­gram was cre­ated through a mem­o­ran­dum by the Depart­ment of Home­land Se­cu­rity, which means it can be re­scinded with­out any in­put from Congress. The pres­i­dent could de­cide to elim­i­nate the pro­gram im­me­di­ately, or sim­ply stop ap­prov­ing new ap­pli­ca­tions and al­low the re­main­ing DACA terms to ex­pire.

Dur­ing the pres­i­den­tial cam­paign, Trump vowed to end the pro­gram, call­ing it an­other ex­am­ple of Obama’s abuse of ex­ec­u­tive power. Af­ter win­ning the pres­i­den­tial elec­tion, Trump changed his po­si­tion, ex­press­ing sym­pa­thy for the young im­mi­grants and say­ing he would treat them with “great heart.”

Repub­li­can lead­ers in 10 states have threat­ened to sue the ad­min­is­tra­tion if it doesn’t end the pro­gram by Tuesday.

John Kelly, the pres­i­dent’s chief of staff and for­mer sec­re­tary of Home­land Se­cu­rity, said such a law­suit is likely to pre­vail, mean­ing DACA’s days are prob­a­bly num­bered.

Trump has been vague about what he will do. “It’s a de­ci­sion that I make, and it’s a de­ci­sion that’s very, very hard to make,” Trump said in July.

JUSTIN LANE, EURO­PEAN PRESSPHOTO AGENCY

Peo­ple mark the fifth an­niver­sary of the De­ferred Ac­tion for Child­hood Ar­rivals pro­gram this month.

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