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Senate Dems react to Trump's DACA decision

Castro DACA 080617This week, Senate Democrats expressed disappointment and outrage at the Trump administration’s backward decision to rescind legal and immigration protection for children who were brought to this country and are now productive parts of our economy and society.

Senator Cristina Castro spoke at a press conference with other state and local elected officials business leaders, and two Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals recipients in support of Dreamers and a legislative solution to the Trump administration's announcement he would end the program.

“The Trump administration’s decision to end a program that protects 800,000 immigrant children and young adults throughout the nation from deportation is shortsighted and irresponsible," Sen. Castro said. "Our nation’s Dreamers, brought to the United States as children with no say in the matter, serve our communities with great honor and respect as active members in our military, police officers, nurses, teachers and lawyers. They are contributing members of society who have a positive impact on our local economy. I urge Congress to act swiftly to enact comprehensive immigration reform that will allow Dreamers to achieve the American dream.”

The program, which was instituted by the Obama administration in 2012, allows undocumented people brought to the United States as children to obtain work permits, attend school and join the military without fear of deportation.

“I am at a loss to understand why the Trump administration would pursue such backward and hostile action. These ‘Dreamers’ are here and making the most of their opportunities," said Senate President John Cullerton. "They are students and professionals. They are part of our country and part of our future. Trump should be applauding them, not targeting them. Today’s action is an outrage and a mistake. I call on our congressional delegation to seize the opportunity to right this wrong."

Cullerton was the chief sponsor of the Illinois TRUST Act that Gov. Bruce Rauner signed into law last week. The TRUST Act clarifies that state and local police are not federal immigration agents and cannot arrest and detain people for suspicion of immigration status. Under the Trust Act, law enforcement must have a valid judicial warrant to detain people who are undocumented, just as the constitution requires in every other case.

State Sen. Omar Aquino, D-Chicago, released a statement after the announcement on Tuesday:

“The Trump administration once again signaled its hostility toward immigrants, announcing that federal officials will begin to dismantle DACA.

“Recipients of this program hold jobs, pay taxes and support their communities. Recent surveys suggest that over 95 percent of DACA recipients are currently working or in school. By dismantling this program, the Trump administration could push nearly 1 million productive, law-abiding Americans to the margins of society.

“The administration’s decision is governmentally, economically and morally misguided. In response to years of gridlock in immigration reform efforts, President Obama instituted DACA in 2012 to help undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States as children get the legal status needed to attend school and get good jobs.

“President Trump’s decision to seek a way forward in the legislative branch of the federal government is concerning, as the Republican-dominated Congress has already failed to advance several other aspects of Trump’s agenda. If federal lawmakers are looking to pass real, sustained immigration reform, I suggest that they revisit the DREAM Act, which they have struggled to pass for nearly two decades.

“If our president truly wants to make America great again, he should not be putting hardworking people with so much to contribute to our communities in such a difficult position. We need a grassroots movement against policies like this one.

“I look forward to working with advocates and leaders in my community to pass true immigration reform at the federal level and ensure that Illinois remains a land of opportunity welcoming people from around the globe.”