The federal government will officially end a program protecting young undocumented immigrants from deportation, but with a “wind down” period in order to give Congress ample time to create a replacement plan.
U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions made the announcement to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday morning.
“To have a lawful system of immigration that serves the national interest, we cannot admit everyone who would like to come here,” he said. “We are people of compassion, we are people of law...There is nothing compassionate about failure to enforce immigration laws.”
President Donald Trump’s decision will affect nearly 800,000 young, undocumented immigrants who have obtained work permits through DACA.
Here’s how Florida politicians reacted to the news of Trump winding down DACA:
Gov. Rick Scott
"President Obama was wrong to address the Dreamers issue by Executive Order. He should have done it in conjunction with Congress, which is how we make laws in our democracy. But this issue must be addressed. I do not favor punishing children for the actions of their parents.
“These kids must be allowed to pursue the American Dream, and Congress must act on this immediately. I am encouraged by the approach Congressman Carlos Curbelo and Senator Thom Tillis are working on to address this problem.
“I want to be very clear: I oppose illegal immigration, and everything else that is illegal. We must secure our borders and the federal government is irresponsible in not doing so. Every single bit of immigration policy becomes much simpler once we secure our borders and put an end to illegal immigration. We must also not allow so-called sanctuary cities to defy our nation’s laws and we must vigorously vet every potential immigrant. Failing to do that is irresponsible.”
U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla.
“Dreamers are our neighbors and our friends. They are our high school valedictorians and our first responders. It’s time for us, as a country, to come together and acknowledge the many contributions that DREAMers have made to our great country, instead of trying to kick them out of the only country they’ve ever known.”
U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla.
“I have long supported accommodating those brought to this country illegally through no fault of their own. However, I have always felt that President Obama's executive action was unconstitutional and that the right way to address this issue was through legislation. Congress now has less than six months to deal with this the right way, through the legislative process. It is important that the White House clearly outline what kind of legislation the president is willing to sign. We have no time to waste on ideas that do not have the votes to pass or that the president won’t sign.”
U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist, D-Fla.
"We are a nation of immigrants. DREAMers are our neighbors, our children's classmates, and members of our military. Turning our backs on these young, hardworking individuals who contribute to our communities and country in countless ways – as members of the military, educators, engineers, nurses, and leaders in their fields – is short-sighted and heartless," said Crist. "Ending DACA will make our country weaker, not stronger, and is not reflective of our values. It is now more important than ever that Congress come together and pass the American Hope Act to create a path to legal status and earned citizenship for those who came to this country as children."
U.S. Rep. Ted Deutch, D-Fla. (via Twitter)
“Trump׳s DACA decision is inhumane. If he spoke to even one DREAMer he'd know it. If he had any feeling. If he could be empathetic. If only.”
U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla.
"This decision by the administration to end DACA and shut down the dreams of young immigrants is heartbreaking, reckless and wrong. For too long, Dreamers have been living with fear and unable to plan for their futures. DACA was necessary to provide a migratory safe harbor and it is cruel to take away the opportunities to work and go to school currently afforded to them. I remain committed to working with my colleagues in Congress to find a permanent legislative solution that protects DREAMers so that our nation does not lose this treasure trove of young people who only truly know and love the United States as their home."
U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (via Twitter)
"#Dreamers make an enormous contribution to our communities. They are our neighbors and our friends. Trump's decision on #DACA is heartless."
Gubernatorial Candidate Commissioner of Agriculture Adam Putnam
"Our national immigration system is broken, and the federal government must fix it. We must secure our borders, end illegal immigration and rid our nation of sanctuary cities. But the children of illegal immigrants should not be punished for their parents’ wrongdoings. I am glad to see the President will allow Congress to develop a solution to replace Obama’s unconstitutional program.”
Gubernatorial Candidate State Sen. Jack Latvala, R-Clearwater
“We must lead with a compassionate heart, not by punishing children. Florida is a diverse state and our economic success depends on a strong diverse workforce. If DACA ends in 6 months it will have a disastrous impact not only on hundreds of thousands of bright, promising young people but also on our business climate. Congress has dropped the ball on this issue like so many others. It's time for Congress to pass a law protecting Dreamers. I call on other leaders of the Republican Party in Florida to join me in supporting these children so they can come out of the shadows and legally secure jobs.”
Gubernatorial Candidate Former U.S. Rep. Gwen Graham, D-Fla.
"President Trump's heartless decision to end DACA — ruining lives and tearing apart families — is utterly devoid of humanity. The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program has provided young people who came to our country through no fault of their own as babies and children the opportunity to come out of the shadows. They attend and enhance our schools. They bravely serve in our military and defend our freedom. They work in our communities and contribute to our economy. They attend our places of worship and pray alongside us.These are innocent human beings. Tallahassee Republicans have spent years attacking immigrants and sabotaging comprehensive immigration reform. Rick Scott opposed the DREAM Act. Adam Putnam falsely derides a pathway to citizenship as 'amnesty,' abandoning the position he took on immigration reform during his time in Congress. Richard Corcoran supports Trump's leaving 50,000 Floridians in limbo. And each of them endorsed Donald Trump, even as he ruthlessly and relentlessly attacked immigrants throughout his campaign. All of this has led us to today's Trump DACA betrayal. This isn't about politics — it's about real people. Allowing Trump to deport these innocent Floridians from the only country they have ever known is morally wrong. I hope all of Florida's elected officials will join me in calling on Trump to do his job, by instructing his Attorney General to defend DACA and protect these 800,000 innocent kids, and for Congress to immediately begin working on comprehensive immigration reform that includes a pathway to citizenship for DREAMers."
Florida House Speaker Richard Corcoran, R-Land O’Lakes
"President Trump made the right decision. The rule of law is the rule of law and no one should be above it. Anything less would have been a tacit acceptance of President Obama’s backdoor amnesty plan for illegal immigrants. And while Congress has shown little ability to get anything done (think repeal and replace of Obamacare), I just hope they don’t turn the opportunity the President has given them to deal with this illegal immigration problem into their own backdoor amnesty plan.”
Florida Democratic Party
"Donald Trump's decision to deport 800,000 young people who have done nothing but work hard, study and place their faith in our government is as cruel as it is thoughtless. Ending DACA without an appropriate legislative solution will devastate Florida's economy and tear at the very fabric of our state. Because of the callous and destructive actions of the President, there is no time to waste--Democrats and Republicans must work together to save the DREAMers. Seventy-eight percent of registered voters believe DREAMers should be allowed to stay in this country because America is stronger when hardworking families and young people can make meaningful contributions to our economy and society."
This is a breaking story. Check back for updates.
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