President Obama slammed Donald Trump's decision to kill off DACA as "wrong," "self-defeating," and "cruel."
President Barack Obama described Donald Trump’s decision to repeal policies that protect the children of immigrants as a “moral question” that Trump has clearly failed and “contrary to our spirit” as Americans.
“To target these young people is wrong – because they have done nothing wrong,” Obama said in a statement on Facebook. “It is self-defeating – because they want to start new businesses, staff our labs, serve in our military, and otherwise contribute to the country we love. And it is cruel.”
Trump made the announcement that his administration was killing off DACA, via a statement from a giddy-looking Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Sessions described the new policy, which could affect 800,000 immigrants and their families while costing the United States $460 billion, as the “compassionate thing to do.”
Trump then issued a written statement justifying his announcement, but declining to make a public speech or hold a press conference to explain the harsh and destructive policy.
While Trump and others in his administration have wrongfully described DREAMers as criminals who drain American resources, Obama of course acknowledges that is far from the truth of who these children and young men and women really are.
“These Dreamers are Americans in their hearts, in their minds, in every single way but one: on paper,” he said. “They were brought to this country by their parents, sometimes even as infants. They may not know a country besides ours. They may not even know a language besides English. They often have no idea they’re undocumented until they apply for a job, or college, or a driver’s license.”
Obama initiated DACA in 2012 after Republicans refused to allow immigration reform to come to a vote in the House, even though it was supported by a majority of the members.
“Whatever concerns or complaints Americans may have about immigration in general, we shouldn’t threaten the future of this group of young people who are here through no fault of their own, who pose no threat, who are not taking away anything from the rest of us,” Obama said.
“They are that pitcher on our kid’s softball team, that first responder who helps out his community after a disaster, that cadet in ROTC who wants nothing more than to wear the uniform of the country that gave him a chance. Kicking them out won’t lower the unemployment rate, or lighten anyone’s taxes, or raise anybody’s wages.”
Obama also called on Congress to act immediately to protect those who now face deportation because of Trump’s decision.
“And I join my voice with the majority of Americans who hope they step up and do it with a sense of moral urgency that matches the urgency these young people feel,” he added.
DACA recipients have become an integral fabric of the United States, contributing in millions of ways that make America great.
Two DACA beneficiaries recently lost their lives while attempting to help victims of Hurricane Harvey, because as the flood waters rose what mattered was their sense of community and sacrifice, not immigration status.
There are hundreds of DACA recipients currently serving in the U.S. Army, and now their service status will be in limbo. They were willing to serve — possibly making the ultimate sacrifice — and Trump responded not with thanks but with a slap across the face.
“Ultimately, this is about basic decency,” Obama concluded. “This is about whether we are a people who kick hopeful young strivers out of America, or whether we treat them the way we’d want our own kids to be treated. It’s about who we are as a people – and who we want to be.”
Certainly, Trump’s vision for America – a vision in which we abandon the children we have vowed to protect — is not who we want to be. That’s why a majority of Americans oppose Trump’s decision and believe that DREAMers should be allowed to stay in the only country they have ever called home.