Thu, Sep 07, 2017 - Page 7 News List

Immigrants accuse Trump of betrayal

‘IT’S CRAZY’:The decision to cancel DACA received harsh reviews among those in Houston, Texas, who have been helping immigrants navigate disaster relief

AP

Evelin Hernandez cries as she holds a sign reading “My dreams matter. Don’t shatter them” at a protest in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on Tuesday against the announcement that the US government is ending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

Photo: AP

They grew up in the US and are working or going to school in the nation. Some are building businesses or raising families of their own. Many have no memory of the nation where they were born.

Now, almost 800,000 young immigrants who were taken to the US illegally as children or overstayed their visas could see their lives upended after the administration of US President Donald Trump on Tuesday announced it is ending the Obama-era program that protected them from deportation.

“We are Americans in heart, mind and soul. We just don’t have the correct documentation that states we’re American,” said Jose Rivas, 27, who is studying for a master’s in counseling at the University of Wyoming.

The news that the US government is phasing out the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program was met with shock, anger and a sense of betrayal by its beneficiaries, often called “Dreamers.”

For opponents, many said they were pleased the Trump administration had put an end to former US president Barack Obama’s DACA program, calling it an unconstitutional abuse of executive power.

US Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who made Tuesday’s announcement, said DACA was an “overreach” that could not be defended by the US Department of Justice.

The Trump administration and other DACA opponents argue that it is up to the US Congress to decide how to deal with such immigrants.

However, late on Tuesday night, Trump tweeted that he might get involved in the issue if the US Congress does not come up with legislation.

“Congress now has 6 months to legalize DACA (something the Obama Administration was unable to do). If they can’t, I will revisit this issue!” Trump tweeted.

Demonstrations on Tuesday broke out in New York City, where police handcuffed and removed more than a dozen immigration activists who briefly blocked Trump Tower, and in other cities, including Salt Lake City, Denver, Los Angeles and Portland. Students walked out of class in protest in several cities, including Phoenix and Albuquerque.

Attorneys general for several states threatened to sue to protect the DACA beneficiaries.

“We stand ready to take all appropriate legal action to protect Oregon’s Dreamers,” Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum tweeted.

Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes, a Republican and an early Trump supporter, said the president has every right to end DACA, which was started by Obama in 2012, but he added that it would be unconscionable to deport those who benefited from the program.

“These children grew up believing they are American and so many of them have lived lives of which America can be proud,” Reyes said.

At a Los Angeles rally, handyman John Willis carried a sign saying: “American lives matter” and criticized the DACA program as an “unlawful tyrannical executive order that our previous president thrust upon us.”

“I don’t wish these kids to be sent back to Mexico or anything like that, but I don’t believe we should have two sets of laws,” Willis said. “We have one set of laws, we should follow them. Congress needs to get up off the pot and enact some legislation to take care of this mess.”

Trump’s action received harsh reviews among those in Houston, Texas, who have been helping immigrants navigate disaster relief amid fears of ramped-up deportations in the new administration.

The city is home to more than half a million immigrants in the US illegally and one DACA recipient described at a news conference how her family lost everything in the storm.

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