President Trump is considering ending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which allows people who were brought to the U.S. illegally as children — sometimes called Dreamers — to stay in the country and work. On Sunday, Politico broke the news that Trump is considering ending the program, but will first allow Congress six months to come up with a replacement. Trump is expected to make a formal announcement on Tuesday.
DACA was created by an executive order from former president Barack Obama in 2012. The program provides protected status to some 800,000 undocumented immigrants.
It’s unclear whether recipients of DACA would be able to renew their status within the six month period before the policy is enforced.
Nestor Nuñez Vasquez, a DACA recipient from Georgia, told NPR on Sunday how ending the program would affect him. If he isn’t able to renew his status, Vasquez said, “I would lose my work permit. I would lose my job. I would lose my driver’s license. And essentially, I would lose my ability to go to college as well. So in a nutshell, it would ruin my future.”
About 17,000 DACA recipients live in Washington state.
Local leaders condemned Trump’s plan to end protections for Dreamers.
Seattle mayor Ed Murray said in a statement: “Protecting immigrants and defending DACA is not only a moral issue, it is also an economic one. And our city has a vibrant economy because of the important contributions of all immigrants, including Dreamers and other undocumented individuals….We will continue to stand with our friends and neighbors and ensure they know we want them to always call Seattle home.”
In a statement, Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal called the decision “irresponsible and cruel”:
“DREAMers are doctors and lawyers. They’re paramedics rescuing people from the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. They’re our coworkers and our friends, our neighbors and our fellow Americans. DREAMers are just as American as you or me. They make us proud with their resilience, their passion and their work to build bright futures — that’s really what makes America great.”
Congresswoman Grace Meng (D-NY), a member of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus said in a statement:
“Not only is this decision inhumane, it openly abandons American values and principles and would rip families apart. Thus far, DACA has enabled 800,000 DREAMers who came to the United States as children, through no decision of their own, to get an education, to get jobs, and to meaningfully contribute to the economy of the only country they have ever called home.”