Pennsylvania politicians react to Trump administration’s decision to end DACA
HARRISBURG — Numerous Pennsylvania politicians are reacting to the Trump administration’s decision to end Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals — a program that had protected nearly 800,000 young undocumented immigrants brought to the US as children from deportation.
Sen. Bob Casey Jr. posted his response on Twitter.
U.S. Rep. Lloyd Smucker tweeted his support for the decision.
State Auditor General Eugene DePasquale released a statement ahead of the Trump administration’s official announcement:
“America has always been a land of opportunity for immigrants dreaming of a better life for themselves and their children. Five years ago, America made a promise to young immigrants who arrived as children and grew up in our communities.
“We have a moral obligation to uphold that promise, and I urge members of the U.S. Congress to act swiftly to protect hundreds of thousands of families.
“Beyond the moral obligation, taking action against immigrants who arrived as children and are now valuable members of our society could have a devastating effect on the economy. Eliminating DACA is estimated to have a $323 million negative impact on Pennsylvania alone.
“America cannot afford to turn our backs on dreamers who are making our nation stronger.”
Congressman Lou Barletta issued a statement in support of the move.
“I commend President Trump for placing a deadline on ending DACA and recognizing that decisions regarding immigration in this country rest with Congress, not the executive branch. When President Obama illegally granted amnesty to hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants, he improperly created more competition for American workers and legal immigrants who are already finding it difficult to get work. American citizens, or people who have come to the United States legally, should not have to suffer from others butting in line after they have broken the law to enter this country. Today, by putting such decisions back in the hands of Congress, President Trump is putting America first and making it clear that no president has the authority to create immigration law.
America is a proud nation of hard-working citizens and legal immigrants. Today’s announcement is a victory for the forgotten American worker and legal immigrants who followed the rule of law to become part of our nation. Too often in the debate about illegal immigration, the media and politicians focus on the person who came to this country illegally. No one talks about the American worker and legal immigrant whose wages are depressed and jobs are threatened by illegal immigration. I am proud to stand with those hard-working individuals and their families.
On this issue, I have been clear: We cannot have a conversation about those who are in our country illegally before we stop the flow of illegal immigration. We are dealing with this problem today because Congress has failed to enforce our laws and secure our borders. By putting the debate our fixing our broken immigration system into the hands of Congress, where it belongs, President Trump is giving the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate the chance to put the forgotten American first. The American people deserve to know that their government is serious about defending their security and protecting their jobs. Our country cannot afford for Congress to fail on this issue again.”
State Senator Daylin Leach (D-Montgomery/Delaware)
“The President’s famous lack of heart has never been more obvious, as he plans to serve the fever dreams of his anti-immigrant Republican supporters despite the well-publicized human horror he will unleash by ending DACA. Perhaps we should speak in terms Trump can understand: deporting 750,000 parents, friends, and neighbors will drastically disrupt the American economy. They pay mortgages to banks, tuition to schools, and taxes to governments. They are employers, employees, and volunteers. They spend money in American stores to raise their American children. When they are forcibly removed from this country, every American will suffer the economic consequences.”
Congressman Dwight Evans:
“America’s DREAMers are students, military service members, teachers, scientists, doctors, and lawyers; more than that they are our friends and our neighbors. I am by no means surprised by the President’s decision to repeal DACA, but I am incredibly disheartened to see the Trump Administration turn its back on the DREAMers who were brought to our country when they were children. We are talking about deporting children—who have grown into able and solid young adults who work alongside us, pray with us, pay taxes, and had no say in their parent’s decision to come to this country. For this they should not be punished.”
“The American people will not forgot today’s misguided decision by President Trump, which puts the lives of 800,000 people at risk. The same people who are contributing to our economy and our neighborhoods each and every day. I want to let all of the DREAMers not only in my District but those in our Commonwealth and our nation know, that I stand with you and I am here for you, and this injustice will not stand.”
State attorney general Josh Shapiro:
“I am carefully reviewing the President’s DACA directive and am in communication with fellow attorneys general and state leaders. I won’t hesitate to do my job and take legal action if the federal government breaks the law as it ends its commitment to these young people.
“There are 5,889 ‘Dreamers’ in Pennsylvania who contribute to our economy, our military and quality of life. They came here through no fault of their own as young children in the care of their parents. They relied on a commitment from the U.S. government and should be able to depend on that promise — not live in fear.
“I renew my call on Congress to finally pass comprehensive immigration reform and border security.”
He’s not a Pennsylvania politician, but here’s what former president Barack Obama had to say:
“Immigration can be a controversial topic. We all want safe, secure borders and a dynamic economy, and people of goodwill can have legitimate disagreements about how to fix our immigration system so that everybody plays by the rules.
But that’s not what the action that the White House took today is about. This is about young people who grew up in America – kids who study in our schools, young adults who are starting careers, patriots who pledge allegiance to our flag. These Dreamers are Americans in their hearts, in their minds, in every single way but one: on paper. They were brought to this country by their parents, sometimes even as infants. They may not know a country besides ours. They may not even know a language besides English. They often have no idea they’re undocumented until they apply for a job, or college, or a driver’s license.
Over the years, politicians of both parties have worked together to write legislation that would have told these young people – our young people – that if your parents brought you here as a child, if you’ve been here a certain number of years, and if you’re willing to go to college or serve in our military, then you’ll get a chance to stay and earn your citizenship. And for years while I was President, I asked Congress to send me such a bill.
That bill never came. And because it made no sense to expel talented, driven, patriotic young people from the only country they know solely because of the actions of their parents, my administration acted to lift the shadow of deportation from these young people, so that they could continue to contribute to our communities and our country. We did so based on the well-established legal principle of prosecutorial discretion, deployed by Democratic and Republican presidents alike, because our immigration enforcement agencies have limited resources, and it makes sense to focus those resources on those who come illegally to this country to do us harm. Deportations of criminals went up. Some 800,000 young people stepped forward, met rigorous requirements, and went through background checks. And America grew stronger as a result.
But today, that shadow has been cast over some of our best and brightest young people once again. To target these young people is wrong – because they have done nothing wrong. It is self-defeating – because they want to start new businesses, staff our labs, serve in our military, and otherwise contribute to the country we love. And it is cruel. What if our kid’s science teacher, or our friendly neighbor turns out to be a Dreamer? Where are we supposed to send her? To a country she doesn’t know or remember, with a language she may not even speak?
Let’s be clear: the action taken today isn’t required legally. It’s a political decision, and a moral question. Whatever concerns or complaints Americans may have about immigration in general, we shouldn’t threaten the future of this group of young people who are here through no fault of their own, who pose no threat, who are not taking away anything from the rest of us. They are that pitcher on our kid’s softball team, that first responder who helps out his community after a disaster, that cadet in ROTC who wants nothing more than to wear the uniform of the country that gave him a chance. Kicking them out won’t lower the unemployment rate, or lighten anyone’s taxes, or raise anybody’s wages.
It is precisely because this action is contrary to our spirit, and to common sense, that business leaders, faith leaders, economists, and Americans of all political stripes called on the administration not to do what it did today. And now that the White House has shifted its responsibility for these young people to Congress, it’s up to Members of Congress to protect these young people and our future. I’m heartened by those who’ve suggested that they should. And I join my voice with the majority of Americans who hope they step up and do it with a sense of moral urgency that matches the urgency these young people feel.
Ultimately, this is about basic decency. This is about whether we are a people who kick hopeful young strivers out of America, or whether we treat them the way we’d want our own kids to be treated. It’s about who we are as a people – and who we want to be.
What makes us American is not a question of what we look like, or where our names come from, or the way we pray. What makes us American is our fidelity to a set of ideals – that all of us are created equal; that all of us deserve the chance to make of our lives what we will; that all of us share an obligation to stand up, speak out, and secure our most cherished values for the next generation. That’s how America has traveled this far. That’s how, if we keep at it, we will ultimately reach that more perfect union.”