Lawmakers past and present are lining up in opposition to President Donald Trump’s decision Tuesday to end the DACA program.
Former Vice President and Delaware Senator Joe Biden joined that chorus with a prescient response to the announcement that young immigrants brought into the country without documents would no longer be eligible for work permits and protection from deportation.
“Brought by parents, these children had no choice in coming here. Now they’ll be sent to countries they’ve never known. Cruel. Not America,” Biden tweeted Tuesday, shortly after Attorney General Jeff Sessions made the announcement on behalf of the administration during a press briefing.
Brought by parents, these children had no choice in coming here. Now they'll be sent to countries they've never known. Cruel. Not America.
— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) September 5, 2017
The Trump administration is phasing out the program for existing DREAMers (those who participate in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program) and has ceased processing new applications. Administration officials have signaled that after a DREAMer’s work permit expires, they will be treated like any other undocumented immigrant and face deportation, even if this is the only country they have really ever known — putting Biden’s statement into further context.
Official on admin conf call on what happens to Dreamer after losing status: "They would be like any other person in the country illegally."
— Jim Acosta (@Acosta) September 5, 2017
It appears that in winding down the program with a six-month window, Trump is leaving the chance to continue to protect DREAMers up to Congress. While Democrats and many moderate Republicans have opposed ending DACA, the GOP is divided on immigration policy.
Congress, get ready to do your job – DACA!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 5, 2017
Trump issued a statement explaining the decision to end the DACA program shortly after Sessions made the announcement.
“As President, my highest duty is to defend the American people and the Constitution of the United States of America. At the same time, I do not favor punishing children, most of whom are now adults, for the actions of their parents. But we must also recognize that we are nation of opportunity because we are a nation of laws,” Trump said, shortly after his administration issued a decree punishing people who were brought here as children.