U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions said the administration will stop renewing applications for people already covered by the DACA program in six months.
New Mexico’s congressional Democrats on Tuesday blasted President Donald Trump’s decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, calling it cruel and heartless.
But Representative Steve Pearce said he supported Trump’s decision and called for a long-term policy action for the problem.
It’s estimated that up to 8,000 New Mexicans could be affected by Trump’s decision, which was announced by U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
Sessions said the administration will stop renewing applications for people already covered by the program in six months. He said that will give Congress time to come up with a fix for the 2012 decision by former President Barack Obama to let people who were brought to the U.S. as children illegally by their parents to stay.
“This policy was implemented unilaterally to great controversy and legal concern after Congress rejected legislative proposals to extend similar benefits on numerous occasions to this same group of illegal aliens,” Sessions said.
“In other words, the executive branch, through DACA, deliberately sought to achieve what the legislative branch specifically refused to authorize on multiple occasions. Such an open-ended circumvention of immigration laws was an unconstitutional exercise of authority by the Executive Branch,” Sessions added.
“The effect of this unilateral executive amnesty, among other things, contributed to a surge of unaccompanied minors on the southern border that yielded terrible humanitarian consequences. It also denied jobs to hundreds of thousands of Americans by allowing those same jobs to go to illegal aliens.”
There around 800,000 people nationally who could be affected by Trump’s decision.
Here are the entire statements from members of New Mexico’s congressional delegation:
Senator Tom Udall
“President Trump’s decision to end the DACA program is a cruel and short-sighted mistake that will cause chaos for families and our economy. The 800,000 DREAMers — including almost 8,000 New Mexicans — who agreed to participate in DACA represent the best of our country.
“Many have told me their stories — they are talented, patriotic young adults who want to finish their education and work as teachers, doctors, engineers. DACA allows them legal status so they can stay with their families and give back to the United States of America — their home and the only country many of them have ever known.
“I said before today that President Trump is increasingly unfit to be president, and this decision, following on the heels of Charlottesville and the pardoning of Joe Arpaio, is further evidence. It reneges on a promise we made to these kids, puts their future in jeopardy and already is causing fear among families and throughout communities.
“The decision also spells disaster for our economy: forcing these driven young people out of the workforce could cost us 700,000 jobs and $460.3 billion in economic output over the next 10 years, not to mention a $24.6 billion hit in lost Medicare and Social Security contributions.
“The DREAMers’ future is now in the hands of Republican leadership in Congress, and I will fight tooth and nail to defend them and protect families. Many Republican officials have said they support DREAMers, so now is the time for Congress to come together to find a permanent solution that will allow these young people to realize their dreams of succeeding and giving back to this country.
“And I urge everyone who depends on this program — families, friends and employers — to stand up and speak out, and let your communities and your lawmakers hear your voices of support loudly and clearly.”
Udall is a longtime supporter of bipartisan legislation to support DREAMers as well as for comprehensive immigration reform that would provide a path to legal status for the 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the United States.
Earlier this year, Udall joined Senator Martin Heinrich in introducing S. 229, the Protect DREAMer Confidentiality Act of 2017, a bill to safeguard DREAMers’ private information — such as addresses and telephone numbers — to ensure that the data is not used by the Trump administration to target them for deportation.
Senator Martin Heinrich (D-NM)
“President Trump’s decision to end DACA protections is a heartless and grave mistake. We should never be a country that kicks out some of our best and brightest students. In the five years since its implementation, DACA has changed the lives of many of our brightest students and veterans who have come out of the shadows to earn an education, contribute to our economy, and give back to their communities and their country.
“I’ve had the privilege of meeting DREAMers in New Mexico and sharing their inspiring stories. These young people are smart, inspiring, and most of them don’t know how to be anything but American.
“We should not be a nation that tears families apart. I will not stand for policies that are contrary to our fundamental American ideals and values. I know how hard immigrants work, how much they believe in this country, how much they’re willing to give back, and how different my own life would be if America had turned my father away when he immigrated here as a young boy.
“The fight is not over. I will continue to stand with DREAMers and defend the promise DACA represents for thousands of young people across New Mexico.”
Senator Heinrich supports the bipartisan DREAM Act introduced by Senators Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.). Earlier this year, Senator Heinrich introduced the Protect DREAMer Confidentiality Act of 2017 to safeguard the private information — such as addresses and telephone numbers — of DREAMers to ensure that they are not targeted by the Trump administration for deportation.
Representative Ben Ray Lujan (D-NM)
“DACA has enabled nearly 800,000 talented young people to contribute more fully to this country. They’re nurses, engineers, small business owners, our friends and our neighbors. These young people came to the United States under the age of 16, some of them only a year or two old. They grew up in the U.S., going to our public schools, singing the Star Spangled Banner, pledging allegiance to the only flag they’ve ever known: the American flag.
“Since 2012, the 9,000 DREAMers in New Mexico have not had to live in fear of deportation. If the Trump administration moves ahead with this mean-spirited attempt to repeal DACA, those young people and their families will once again risk being torn apart.
I will oppose any attempt by the Trump administration to end DACA and rip these young people away from the country in which they have grown up and that they love and respect. Tearing families apart to achieve a political end does not reflect American values and will not solve our immigration problems.”
Representative Steve Pearce
“We in New Mexico understand the harmful and damaging effects that temporary patchwork solutions to our nation’s immigration system can have on families. This kind of flawed reform fails to provide certainty and leaves millions with an illusion of hope.
“Since arriving in Congress, I have fought to make reforms to our nation’s immigration policies so that the system is fair and just for all. The truth is, the current DACA program is a short-term solution that does not achieve these goals. It is only a temporary fix for millions of young adults who have only ever known the United States as home.
I will continue to work with my colleagues in Congress for fairness, justice, and family unity, and will fight for a permanent change for DREAMers that ensures both current and future generations do not face the same challenges and burdens.”
In June 2012, the Obama Administration established the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals to provide temporary lawful status for children brought unlawfully to the United States. As of September 2016, more than 750,000 DACA requests were accepted.
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