United We Dream and their allies mobilized protests this week regarding President Trump’s efforts to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Act, which allows undocumented immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as minors to apply for work permits and shields them from deportation.
After Politico reported on Sunday evening that the president would announce a six-month delay before he terminates DACA protections for nearly 800,000 people, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) was among many Trump critics who expressed outrage at the president’s plan.
“They are American. This is their home. This is where they went to school. This is where they have their families, their parents, their everything.”
Senator Sanders said that the president’s decision is “one of the ugliest and cruelest decisions ever made by a president in our modern history. Taking legal protections away from 800,000 young people raised in this country is absolutely counter to what we stand for as a nation.”
“Congress must act immediately to restore it,” stated Sanders.
“We are not going to give up,” said Angelica Salas, executive director for the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights in Los Angeles, at a recent rally. Referring to the Dreamers she said, “They are American. This is their home. This is where they went to school. This is where they have their families, their parents, their everything.”
United We Dream, the largest immigrant youth-run organization in the country. The organizations were joined by other immigrant rights groups in denouncing Trump’s termination of DACA.
Kristen Clarke of the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law noted that Trump’s animosity towards DACA recipients further aligns him with the xenophobic white nationalist movement that he has refused to clearly denounce in recent weeks, following the Charlottesville white supremacist rally.
“Reversing the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program renders undocumented people targets for unscrupulous employers, wage theft and other abuses in the workplace, and weakens the economic well-being of their families, including their citizen spouses, siblings and offspring,” said Clarke. “It is also a cruel example of how the current Administration’s advancement of policies that promote racial and ethnic profiling and xenophobia have further emboldened white nationalists, who have a history of contributing to a climate of fear and hate.”
The expected six-month delay before the termination goes into effect would give Congress an opportunity to act—but immigrant rights advocates fear Trump’s expected announcement will actually be meant to offer DACA as a bargaining chip to Congress as the president tries to secure funding and support for other controversial aspects of his immigration agenda, including the border wall.
by Julia Conley
Julia Conley is a staff writer at Commondreams.org.