Local Immigration Officials Say Concerns Growing Over Trump DACA Decision

Attorney General Jeff Sessions makes a statement at the Justice Department in Washington, Tuesday, Sept. 5, 2017, on President Barack Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA program. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

HYANNIS – Local immigration officials say concerns are growing from individuals on Cape Cod about the Trump Administration’s decision to dismantle the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions said Tuesday the Obama-era executive order known as DACA is an “unconstitutional exercise of authority” and the current administration is urging Congress to find an alternate way to protect young immigrants brought into the country illegally as children.

The program has provided nearly 800,000 young immigrants a reprieve from deportation.

The Community Action Committee of Cape Cod & Islands’ Immigration Resource Center Coordinator Collin Mickle said there are many beneficiaries of DACA on Cape Cod.

“We certainly have a number of our clients who have enrolled in DACA over the years,” Mickle said. “There is an avalanche of uncertainty right now. There is absolutely no certainty. A lot of people are wondering what this means and what the next steps are.”


Mickle said it is unfortunate that dreamers chose to trust the government with their information.

“They have given their names and their addresses and the names of their parents and the places where they work and so on and so forth with the expectation that they would be enrolled in this program that promises prosecutorial discretion,” he said. “That promises the United States will not chose to execute its legal right to deport them because of the fact that they arrived as children.”

Mickle said he recommends local dreamers wait and see what happens and to be as cautious and safe as possible. He is also advising anyone who has not signed up for DACA to not apply.

Congressman Bill Keating (D-Bourne) released a statement following the president’s decision to rescind the program:

“Democracy, justice, and our shared values demand that Congress must take swift action and bring a vote to the floor to preserve DACA. The nearly 790,000 ‘Dreamers’ came to this country as children by no choice of their own. They are our neighbors, our co-workers, our classmates, and members of our Armed Forces who have put their lives on the line to defend our nation. President Trump’s shameful decision and Attorney General Session’s statement fail to take into account that Dreamers are by definition taxpaying, law-abiding, contributing Americans, the majority of which know no other home. Democrats and Republicans alike have opposed this repeal. Congress can, and must, take action to make DACA law.”

Other state leaders are condemning President Donald Trump’s decision to dismantle DACA.

Attorney General Maura Healey, Boston Mayor Martin Walsh and U.S. Sen. Ed Markey criticized the decision at a news conference Tuesday.

Healey called the decision “shameful.” Markey says it “will not stand.”

Walsh says many of the DACA recipients are “just as American as Jeff Sessions and Donald Trump.”

The three Democrats were joined by Harvard University graduate Diana Ortiz, who enrolled in the DACA program after she was brought into the country nearly 20 years ago. Ortiz says “we are Americans by heart if we aren’t Americans by law.”

Former President Barack Obama is calling the decision “cruel” and “self-defeating.”

Obama did not mention Trump by name in his statement but says a “shadow has been cast” over some of the nation’s best and brightest young people. He says targeting them is wrong “because they have done nothing wrong.”

Obama says it’s up to members of Congress to act and he joins his voice with the majority of Americans who hopes Congress will step up.

Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina says Trump should “work the phones” to get the votes needed to pass the bill Graham is sponsoring with Sen. Dick Durbin, an Illinois Democrat.

Their legislation would allow young immigrants who grew up in the U.S. to earn lawful permanent residence and eventually American citizenship if they meet several requirements. They have to have come to the United States as children, graduate from high school and pass background checks.

Graham says the bill “is a good down payment on what will eventually be a comprehensive solution to a broken immigration system.”

House Speaker Paul Ryan says the existing policy was a “clear abuse of executive authority” and now it’s incumbent upon Congress to act.

In a statement Tuesday, the Wisconsin Republican says the heart of the issue is “young people who came to this country through no fault of their own.”

Ryan says it is his hope that the House and Senate — with the president’s leadership — will find consensus on a permanent legislative solution to the issue. He says it is important to ensure that those who have done nothing wrong can still contribute “as a valued party of this great country.”

President Donald Trump is defending his decision and said he is giving Congress a “window of opportunity” to act.

Trump is stressing in a statement that he is “not going to just cut DACA off, but rather provide a window of opportunity for Congress to finally act.”

Trump says he is not in favor of punishing children for the actions of their parents.

But he says: “Young Americans have dreams too.”

By BRIAN MERCHANT, CapeCod.com NewsCenter

Material from the Associated Press was used in this article.

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