Over the past few hours since Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced that Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) has been rescinded, several groups have shared media releases and public statements with Latino USA. Here are just some of those responses to Sessions’ announcement and President Trump’s statement:
United We Dream
Cristina Jimenez, Executive Director of United We Dream said in response:
“We are outraged by Trump’s decision to end DACA.
“With this move, Trump is fulfilling a sick white supremacist scheme developed by Attorney General Jeff Sessions to terrorize young people of color. But make no mistake—we will not be pushed into the shadows by these racist politicians. This is our home and we are here to stay.
“House Speaker Paul Ryan looked my friend Angelica Villalobos —a DACA beneficiary and mother of four— in the eye and said she would be safe but did nothing. Republicans have consistently attacked immigrant youth and now they must ensure that immigrant youth are safe.
“Congress must pass legislation to protect immigrant youth without any racist gimmicks! We reject the idea that immigrants must endure more pain so that any group of immigrants can get common sense relief.
“Trump’s plan today is cruel. Only a serial abuser would rationalize delayed violence as acting with a “big heart.” Ending DACA means mass deportation – period.
“With his first major policy test after Charlottesville, Trump has sided with the white supremacists.
“For 800,000 immigrant youth —including my younger brother— DACA is a pathway towards achieving dreams. With DACA, immigrant youth have gone to college, supported their families with good jobs and have strengthened their communities and the entire country.
“Unlike Trump, immigrant youth are standing up today and saying in no uncertain terms that this is our home and we are here to stay. We will not be pushed into the shadows. Immigrant youth are more than papers and this is our country no matter what some racist politicians say.
“United We Dream vows to continue fighting and mobilizing for justice so that all immigrants and people of color can safely pursue life, liberty and happiness.
Immigrant Rights Activist Erika Andiola
Dear friends and family,
If you are reading this, I’m in jail for standing up to the Trump administration’s repeal of DACA. We knew this day was coming, and so we’ve been as ready as we can be, but it still hurts to be counting the days before I lose my DACA and therefore my ability to work and provide for my family.
We will fight this. I am committed to putting everything on the line right now. We immigrant youth have always known DACA was temporary, and this time we are unwilling to settle for anything less than permanent protection, respect and dignity, for ourselves, our parents and our communities.
I participated in this action because it is imperative as a person with DACA that I cry out for justice for all undocumented people. No human being can ever be illegal.
For me this is a huge risk – as someone with DACA I am risking my livelihood and that of my family as well as my ability to remain in this country.
“Acting on tainted and biased ‘legal’ advice, Donald Trump caved to the overstated demands of the Texas attorney general and a dwindling number of other states,” said Thomas A. Saenz, president and general counsel of MALDEF. “The fecklessness of the Trump White House and the Sessions Justice Department now endangers countless families, employers, and communities across the country. The Congress must act to take the long-overdue legislative steps necessary to protect a national asset – millions of home-grown, educated, and courageous young people ready to continue to build our economy and community. Congressional failure to act is not an acceptable outcome politically or morally. The state of Texas and the eight other states that maintained their disingenuous threat to sue must also be held accountable for their despicable role in this body blow to the nation.”
“Telemundo stands with the 800,000 Dreamers who are integral to the economy, culture and spirit of our nation. We are disheartened by the decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. In addition to the human impact of this decision, repealing DACA will result in the loss of thousands of jobs in the United States and billions of dollars in economic growth over the next decade. We urge Congress to act swiftly to preserve the rights of these valuable members of our community. All of our elected representatives should be held accountable toward this end.”
Undocumented Activist Jeanette Vizguerra
“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.”
Pablo Alvarado of the National Day Laborer Organizing Network
“Today’s action is nothing less than a threat to U.S. democracy. He wants to exploit desperation to rule by fiat. Democracy doesn’t work that way.
Dictators take hostages, and Trump clearly wants to become a dictator. He is holding millions of lives hostage in an effort to rig a negotiation with Congress.
The challenge facing all immigrants- not just DACA recipients- is to seek liberation without sacrificing equality. We won’t and must refuse to pay a ransom in exchange for our rights.
There is a national consensus that young immigrants deserve citizenship and full equality.
The challenge for them and for all of us will be to preserve that consensus while resisting white supremacist agenda to criminalize millions of people.”
Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA)
“Can you imagine being brought to this country as a toddler and now having to live in fear that you will be deported to a country you’ve never known? President Trump’s decision to end DACA is inhumane and cruel. These kids will now wonder if they can continue to work or go to school, and will be constantly looking over their shoulders,” said Matt Clausen, WOLA’s Executive Director. “Dreamers are exactly the kind of people we should want in this country—young, eager to work or study, respectful of the law, and contributing to the economy.”
From National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO)
“The National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) is deeply concerned by the chain of events that President Donald J. Trump has put in motion by ending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
“The DACA program embodied the ideals and values we treasure as a nation, allowing young individuals who were brought to this country through no fault of their own to come into the light, work hard, and contribute meaningfully to our economy and society.
“By eliminating this program, President Trump is turning his back on the wealth of talent and skills that the more than 800,000 young hard-working Americans enrolled in DACA bring to this nation. These young individuals will now be forced to live their lives in limbo and constant fear for simply trying to pursue the American Dream. This insensible act puts in place a new reality for these young immigrants and all Americans, and sends a clear message to the rest of the world that our nation is no longer welcoming to immigrants.
“From here on out, students furthering their education who know no other home than the United States will be forced to look over their shoulders as they head to class. Members of our Armed Forces who put their lives on the line defending our nation will now have to worry about one day returning from a deployment and finding immigration officers at their doorstep. Business-owners and organizations like NALEO Educational Fund who employ talented employees that have become invaluable members of their staff will wonder if there may come a day when their colleagues will not return to the office after a lunch or coffee break.”
Jolt Member and DACA Recipient Daniela Rojas
“As one of the 800,000 DACA recipients who were able to go to school, find stable jobs, and obtain a driver’s license, I am devastated by the decision of President Donald Trump to end the DACA program. I am a proud student at the University of Texas at Austin and have been planning to go to law school. I work part-time to help cover the costs of my education and to provide for my family. Now my dreams of becoming a lawyer and advocate for my community are put in limbo. Now, I risk deportation and separation from my friends, family and the country I call home.
“I have been living in the U.S. for eleven years, this is the only country I know, this is my home. There are nearly 120,000 young immigrants like myself in Texas. We are just as American and worthy as anyone else. We are here to contribute and give back to the country where we’ve grown up in and been educated in. Ending DACA means that young people like myself will be pushed back into the shadows and live with fear and uncertainty.
“But I know that our community will stand strong. We will resist hateful and racist policies. Latino youth in Texas are ready to organize, ready to fight and ready to win. We saw it this weekend when thousands gathered at the Texas State Capitol for the Unity Concert & March to #DefendDACA. And we will see it again, not only in the streets, but also at the polls to demand accountability from Donald Trump and Greg Abbott. This fight is far from over. We will defend each other and we will win, because this is our home and we are here to stay.”
Sally Kinoshita of the Immigrant Legal Resource Center
“After launching a race-baiting presidential campaign that scapegoated immigrants, and on the heels of the white supremacist violence in Charlottesville and President Trump’s pardon of known illegal racial profiler Sheriff Joe Arpaio, the Administration must demonstrate through clear action and leadership that ending the DACA program is not part of a white supremacist agenda that is threatening our communities.
“With the DACA program in place, we worked for years helping the federal government assure young people that those who are part of our communities and were willing to contribute could come out of the shadows. Of those who did so by applying for DACA, nearly 90 percent are now working, adding billions of dollars to our economy and helping schools, communities, workplaces and families thrive in ways that benefit all Americans. The majority of Americans support Dreamers – the young immigrants who grew up here. Why would we end such a successful program? How can President Trump explain that this is not another way he is placing communities of color in the crosshairs?
“The Trump Administration must ensure that renewal applications and pending initial applications are timely adjudicated to avoid delays in eligible individuals participating in this program. And the Trump Administration must immediately reassure Dreamers that their trust in the federal government was not misplaced and that immigration agents will not arrest, detain or deport the hundreds of thousands of young people who now feel a heightened risk.
“The White House must show strong support and leadership to pass legislation to protect the nearly two million young people and their families, recognizing the benefits that employers, schools, taxpayers, and families gained by including these young people more fully in society.”
Christine Owens of the National Employment Law Project
“President Trump’s decision to phase out the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program is an inexcusable, narrowly ideological action inconsistent with this nation’s highest values and contrary to what most Americans believe.”
As NELP stated when news first broke that President Trump would announce the end of the DACA program, any plan to take legal status away from the brave young “Dreamers” who benefit from DACA, leaving them vulnerable to deportation, is both impractical and inhumane. It is yet another shameful concession by the president to the white supremacists that he remains so willing to cater to and so reluctant to condemn.
Reports show that ending DACA could cause as many as 30,000 people to lose their jobs every month, as it would impact the ability of recipients to work legally. Job losses of this magnitude will also negatively impact local and state economies in the form of reduced state revenue, reduced spending, a reduction in the number of talented employees, and more.
Congressional Republicans who condemned the racism, anti-Semitism, xenophobia, and hate that fueled the Charlottesville protests must now show that they can go beyond words to action. Speaker Paul Ryan, who stated in response to the protests that “bigotry is counter to all this country stands for” and that “[t]here can be no moral ambiguity,” must know that a failure on Republicans’ part to preserve DACA would let bigotry and supremacy win. He must lead Republicans in creating a path to citizenship for the hundreds of thousands of Dreamers who call America home.”