Editor’s Note: The following are reactions regarding the announcement that the Trump administration is ending DACA. DHS will immediately stop accepting applications for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program and will stop renewing current beneficiaries in March 2018.
Jeanette Vizguerra, Undocumented Activist, TIME’s Most Influential People
This is devastating news for my family. My oldest daughter has been living here since she was 5 years old and thanks to DACA she is currently studying and working to be a teacher, while raising her own children. Without DACA, she will not be able to fulfill her dreams of becoming an educator, and many like her will be at risk of deportation again.
Today, I will join young immigrants and other mothers like me in a national fast to tell the President and the country that I am ready to do whatever it takes to protect my children and my community. I will not stay silent while racist politicians take away my daughter’s future or try to use her as a bargaining chip to separate our family.
Congresswoman Diana DeGette (D-CO), Chief Deputy Whip
The announcement that President Trump is ending DACA is a crushing blow to the 800,000 DREAMers nationwide, including more than 17,000 in Colorado,” DeGette said. “When President Obama established the program in 2012, he made a promise to DREAMers that America would help provide a pathway to citizenship that allows them to remain vital members of our communities. Although #DACA may not be the means used to achieve this objective, its spirit remains stronger than ever.
I am urging House Speaker Paul Ryan to put legislation on the House floor that gives these young men and women the chance to achieve their American dream, such as the bipartisan Dream Act. Let’s work together to do the right thing and keep our promise. DACA is far from done.
Congressman Ed Perlmutter (D-CO)
The Trump Administration’s decision to end DACA is disgraceful. We are a nation of immigrants and a nation of opportunity but the administration has pulled the rug out from under these folks leaving them with the fear of being separated from their family and the only life they’ve ever known.
Terminating this program goes against our values as a country and only panders to a narrow group of the President’s base supporters. It will also have a disastrous impact on our economy. Nearly 800,000 DREAMers, including 17,000 in Colorado, have benefitted from this program and are employed or getting an education. The loss of this program equates to a loss of roughly 700,000 jobs and billions in economic output. These individuals are our friends, neighbors, classmates and colleagues, and they contribute to and enrich our society every day.
President Obama signed the Executive Order authorizing the DACA program largely because Congress wasn’t acting on comprehensive immigration reform. I strongly disagree with President Trump’s decision to end this program but it is now more important than ever that Congress acts quickly to protect these individuals.
Denver Mayor Michael Hancock
There are 800,000 youth living in the United States that know no other country but this one. They didn’t choose to be here, but they are here – contributing to this country and making good on the opportunity to pursue the American dream. Ripping them from the only home and life they’ve ever known is a cruel action unbefitting of this great nation. If the President chooses to forfeit his moral leadership with this heartless attempt to score political points, then it’s up to the House of Representatives and Senate to show all Americans that we can still govern with compassion. It’s time for a bipartisan action to protect our DACA youth, and I urge all members of Colorado’s congressional delegation to support that legislation.
Hans Meyer, Meyer Law Office, Denver
Even as Trump gives ICE machinery the green light to terminate the DACA program and deport Dreamers without regard, we can and will defend ourselves. If your DACA is set to expire in the next six months, on or before March 5, 2018, you must submit a renewal application before October 5, 2017. Otherwise, your DACA will expire on the date listed on your work permit.
The Meyer Law Office will provide Know Your Rights Post-DACA workshops for immigrant youth and their families, Colorado-specific fact sheets on the end of the DACA program, and immigration consultations and representation so that individual DACA recipients can make the best decisions in their legal cases moving forward. Many DACA recipients may qualify for additional options under existing immigration law, and it will be important to consult to determine those options.
New México Attorney General Hector Balderas
I am currently working with my fellow state attorneys general to build a strong case for our Dreamers because President Trump is compromising the safety of our communities and our nation, and he is putting the security of thousands of New Mexicans who contribute to our classrooms, public safety and economy at risk. Losing hundreds of thousands of hard-working Americans such as future police officers, members of the military, doctors and teachers will create an unacceptable public safety threat in the United States.
César Vargas, Esq. co-director of the Dream Action Coalition
DACA did not define me. With or without DACA, I am an American, I am an attorney, and this is the country I call home. While my DACA expires in 2019, there are thousands who will lose their protection on March 6, 2018. We will fight for them so they are not rounded up and deported. We will mobilize for the DREAM Act to finally bring a permanent solution to Dreamers and secure a path to citizenship. But we will be firm that we will only accept a stand alone DREAM Act with no strings attached. I will not criminalize my 74-year old mother just so I can get a green card. We will not throw our families under the bus just so we can have citizenship. We are ready to fight for our futures and for our families.
Tom Pérez Chair of Democratic National Committee
Donald Trump has secured his legacy as a champion for cruelty. First, he took away protections for immigrant parents. Now he’s going after their children. Rescinding DACA is the latest tactic in the Republican playbook to promote hate and discrimination. Because of the Republican Party, DREAMers will lose their ability to go to work and contribute to their communities. Deportations will tear families apart and drive immigrants back into the shadows. And our economy will face a devastating blow, costing our country billions in GDP over a decade.
DREAMers share our values and strengthen our nation. Their courage is American to its core, and they deserve far better from the president of the only country they’ve ever called home.
Democrats believe that diversity and compassion are our nation’s greatest strengths. We believe in fixing our immigration system, not uprooting lives and shattering families. And as Donald Trump and his Republican colleagues try to trample on the American Dream, we will continue to fight for the immigrant families who contribute to our country every day.
Frank Sharry, Executive Director of América’s Voice Education Fund
President Trump has formally ended the DACA program that gave hope and a future to hundreds of thousands of young people who are American in every way except their legal status. In an act of moral and political cowardice, Trump reached a new low of malice by crushing the dreams of 800,000 young people who are as American as you and I. After mainstreaming white nationalism in his response to Charlottesville and undermining our justice system with his pardon of racist Joe Arpaio, Trump has turned his hate on the young men and women who we have come to know as ‘Dreamers.’ Their dreams have now turned into a nightmare under this dark and soulless President. How America treats Dreamers is a moral test that goes beyond party labels and cuts to the questions of who we are as a people and what we aspire to be as a country. Dreamers are Americans. They grew up in this country, they’ve graduated from schools and have gone to work in America. Their dreams are made in America. Now their futures are under threat.
“No one should fall for the White House spin that there was a modicum of humanity embedded in their decision today. There is no middle ground or equivocation when it comes to Dreamers. It’s a time for choosing, and we all should stand with Dreamers in today, their time of need, and push Congress to advance a clean, bipartisan, and permanent bill to extend the protections and opportunities they deserve and we all benefit from.
Juan Escalante, DACA recipient and America’s Voice Digital Campaigns Manager
We didn’t win DACA or other pro-immigrant policies by cowering in fear or hiding who we are; we won them by standing up for what was right and just, and by providing hundreds of thousands of examples of why America benefits from immigrants of all backgrounds. Like 800,000 others, DACA has helped changed my life and charted a new future for me and my family.
President Trump and anti-immigrant allies can take away my DACA status, but they can’t take away our resolve to keep fighting on behalf of our families and our futures or building off the successes of DACA to this, the next chapter of our struggle.
For the immigrants and Dreamers reading this, I urge you to join me and push back against this attack on our communities. We cannot allow our anxiety and fears to obstruct us from the continued fights ahead of us. The truth is that we are not alone. If you are an ally, a friend, or a decent human being who understands that immigrants work hard, play by the rules and are proud aspiring Americans, please stand with us in the days and weeks ahead. I urge you to also join us in this fight – call your member of Congress today, tomorrow, and every day until they know your name and demand that they co-sponsor the Dream Act. This is the only way to ensure Dreamers can remain in the United States and not serve as targets for Donald Trump’s Deportation Force.