Washington state reacts to Trump Administration’s plan to end DACA
KENNEWICK, Wash. — Nearly 800,000 Deffered Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients are unsure of their future. Tuesday morning Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the Obama-era program will be phased out over the next six months, giving Congress time to come up with a plan to replace it.
“To have a lawful system of immigration that serves the national interest, we cannot admit everyone who would like to come here. It’s just that simple,” said Sessions.
“Congress, get ready to do your job – DACA!,” tweeted President Trump Tuesday morning.
ABC News reports the new policy will stop accepting new applications for legal status dated after Sept. 5. Some current DACA recipients will be eligible for legal status for another 2+ years. Others will be stripped of their protections as early as next March.
Since 2012 the program has granted protection to about 17,000 undocumented immigrants in Washington state who came to the U.S. as children. The program allows them to obtain legal work permits.
Governor Jay Inslee said the decision “threatens the ability of these young men and women — many of whom know of no other place to call home — to pursue the incredible opportunities our nation promised them five years ago.”
Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson said “the Washington Attorney General’s Office will file suit to halt this cruel and illegal policy and defend DACA recipients.”
“We have been working closely with legal teams around the country, and we expect to be joined by other states in this action,” said Ferguson.
Local advocates said DACA recipients should not panic.
“I don’t think anyone is really surprised. I think if anything it puts the pressure of Congress to do something now. Just create a pathway to citizenship, don’t deport people,” said Leo Perales with Consejo Latino.
Perales said if Congress doesn’t come up with a plan the U.S. will see the biggest economic and humanitarian disaster “the country has probably ever seen by deporting 11+ million people.”
Congressman Dan Newhouse has met with local DACA students on multiple occasions throughout the Trump presidency. He has voiced his support for the Bridge Act, short for “Bar Removal of Individuals who Dream and Grow our Economy.”
This bill would allow people who already have DACA to obtain provisional protected presence until their DACA’s expiration date.
Newhouse said the decision to end the DACA program is not merely a disappointment, “but a major setback for the young people I know who were brought here as children through no fault of their own.”
Newhouse and ten Republican members of the House of Representatives wrote a letter to Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, urging him to support a fix for the DACA program.
They wrote, “We did not support the way that President Obama established this program and usurped Congressional law making authority. However, these individuals have come forward and provided the federal government with their personal information and biometrics. It would be wrong to go back on our word and subject these individuals to deportation.”
Supporters of the DACA program will rally Tuesday, Sept. 5 at John Dam Plaza from 4 p.m. – 5 p.m.