Gov. Rick Scott is urging the Trump administration to hold off on ending an Obama-era program protecting young undocumented immigrants from deportation on Friday.
“These kids must be allowed to pursue the American Dream, and Congress must act on this immediately,” Scott said in a statement released Friday.
Rumors swirled Friday that President Donald Trump would end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program Tuesday, leaving the futures of millions of undocumented immigrants hanging by a thread.
“I do not favor punishing children for the actions of their parents,” said Scott, taking a stance against ending the program.
The governor said he was “encouraged” by legislation from U.S. Rep. Carlos Curbelo, R-Fla, and U.S. Sen. Thom Tillis, R-NC, which would provide an eventual path to citizenship for the undocumented immigrants.
Curbelo and Tillis’ plan would provide amnesty for around 800,000 undocumented immigrants who received work permits under DACA and could provide green cards for up to 2.5 million young immigrants if they go to college, join the military or keep a job.
Scott also said President Barack Obama was “wrong” to issue the executive order in 2012 which stopped the deportation of undocumented immigrants who entered the United States as children.
“He should have done it in conjunction with Congress, which is how we make laws in our democracy,” Scott said in a statement released Friday.
Some of the undocumented immigrants, called “Dreamers,” then began receiving work permits.
According to the American Immigration Council, there are an estimated 1.8 million immigrants who might be, or might have become “Dreamers” under Obama’s executive order.
“They pledge allegiance to our flag. They are Americans in their hearts, in their minds, in every single way but one: on paper,” President Barack Obama said at the time.
Hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrants in Florida could be affected by Trump’s decision, since Florida is home to a significant number of Dreamers.
Scott’s statement also symbolized a rare difference in opinion from President Trump, who he has mostly agreed with since he took office earlier this year.
Other Floridians have waded into the fray against ending DACA. Miami billionaire Mike Fernandez has pushed Curbelo to help arrange a meeting with House Speaker Paul Ryan to advocate for the program.
President Trump frequently questioned the constitutionality of Obama's executive order, repeatedly vowing to end DACA to protect American workers while on the campaign trail.
“We love the Dreamers,” Trump told reporters Friday. “We love everybody.”