Trump Terminates DACA, Hawai‘i Senators Defend Program
The Trump administration today announced the end of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program in the US.
The Trump administration called the program “unlawful” and said it is taking action to “wind down DACA in an orderly and minimally disruptive manner.” Attorney General Jeff Sessions sent a letter to the Department of Homeland Security explaining that DACA was not statutorily authorized and was therefore an unconstitutional exercise of discretion by the executive branch.
Under the change announced today, administration officials say current DACA recipients generally will not be impacted until after March 5, 2018, six months from now. They say that period of time gives Congress the opportunity to consider appropriate legislative solutions.
Supporters of the program say it had protected an estimated 800,000 young undocumented immigrants from deportation since its inception five years ago.
US Senator Mazie Hirono of Hawaiʻi called the decision to eliminate the program a “cruel and unnecessary step,” and called it the latest step to “attack minority communities.”
Hirono issued a statement saying, “I want to be clear: I reject any effort to hold these young people hostage for an unnecessary waste of money like Donald Trump’s wall. I will continue to stand with these inspiring young people and groups all across the country to fight this latest cruel and totally unjustifiable action by the President.”
US Senator Brian Schatz also commented calling the end of DACA “one of the most inhumane things this administration could do.”
He said, “It doesn’t matter where you stand on immigration. We should all be able to agree that people who came here as children, who have grown up as American as anyone else’s kids, should not be stripped away from the communities they’re a part of to go back to a country they don’t remember. People trusted the government when they chose to register as Dreamers. And now, this administration has betrayed their trust and will ruin their lives.”
Under the Trump administration’s actions, renewal applications for DACA Employment Authorization Documents properly filed and accepted by Oct. 5, 2017, for people whose current Employment Authorization Documents expire between today and March 5, 2018, will be processed. Any such requests filed after Oct. 5, 2017 will not be accepted.
Currently approved applications for advance parole for DACA recipients will generally be honored, but new applications will not be approved. All pending applications for advance parole by DACA recipients will be closed and associated fees will be refunded.
Rep. Tulsi Gabbard also released a statement in opposition to the end to the DACA program saying:
“President Trump’s decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program is wrong. It will break up families and punish young people who were brought to this country as minors through no choice or fault of their own. These are people who have grown up in the United States, and who know no other country to be their home. DACA transformed the lives and futures of hundreds of thousands of young people, in Hawaii and across the country. Because of DACA they’ve been able to go to college, find a job, support their family, serve their country, and live free from the constant fear of deportation.
“In my home state of Hawaiʻi, DACA has allowed more than 600 young people to remain legally in our country and contribute to our economy and society, including a member of my staff who came to the United States as a minor from Zimbabwe. Last week on Maui, I had the opportunity to hear from some of Hawaiʻi’s DREAMers and hear their heart-wrenching stories about living in fear and in the shadows until DACA was put into effect. They cried as they shared their stories of the opportunity and freedom they have experienced because of DACA, and the fear of uncertainty in what lies ahead with the prospects of being forced to leave the only home they’ve ever known. Congress must act now to enact a permanent solution for these DREAMers and pass the bipartisan DREAM Act now.”