Crusader staff report
Gary Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson joined several Illinois lawmakers who blasted President Donald Trump’s decision to scrap a program that has given hundreds of thousands of children of illegal immigrants a chance to live in the U.S. and pursue the American Dream.
On Tuesday, Sept. 5, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced that Trump decided to rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, giving a six-month timeframe for Congress to draft its own immigration proposal, according to the U.S. Department of Justice. The move was immediately condemned by activists, civil rights leaders and Democrats across the U.S. In Indiana, several officials called the decision “cruel” and “heartless” and a missed opportunity for immigration reform.
Freeman-Wilson said in a statement, “I am disappointed that the administration appears to once again be moving away from a policy that seems fair, just and to be indicative of good business and good government. I am optimistic that this provides an opportunity for Congress to act, not just to legislate DACA, but to create comprehensive immigration reform that meets the needs of employers, communities and current and future citizens.”
Former President Barack Obama created the DACA program in 2012. The program has given nearly 800,000 young immigrants a reprieve from deportation and the ability to work legally with two-year, renewable work permits.
In May, the Gary Common Council passed a “Welcoming City” measure. The ordinance declared that Gary officials will not question a resident’s immigration status during interactions with members of a city department.
Other officials in Indiana also blasted the decision to end DACA.
“Upending existing protections for the nearly 10,000 young people in Indiana who have been living here for most of their lives
isn’t the path we should take,” Sen. Joe Donnelly, (D-IN), said in a statement.
“President Trump’s decision to terminate the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program was a cruel and heartless blow to vulnerable young citizens who want nothing more than a chance at the American Dream,” Hammond Mayor Thomas McDermott Jr. said. “Maybe President Trump needs to be reminded that most of our ancestors came to this country by boat? In fact, this diversity of cultures is one of the things that makes [sic] America so great.”
U.S. Cong. Pete Visclosky, (D-Merrillville), noted in a statement, “It is deeply unfortunate that the administration’s action will create uncertainty and fear for those enrolled in the DACA program, who are innocent of the actions that brought them to the United States, and who have obeyed our laws. The status of these participants should be dealt with as part of a comprehensive plan and not in the manner announced today.
“I have long supported a comprehensive immigration solution that would aim to improve national security by strengthening border protections, limit wage competition by holding employers who hire undocumented workers accountable and promote public safety by bringing those immigrants already contributing to our communities out of the shadows through an earned path to citizenship,” Visclosky said in a statement.
In a statement, Donnelly remarked, “Our country is still in need of reforms to fix our immigration system and strengthen border security, but in the interim, we should pass bipartisan legislation to give these young people, who were brought here through no fault of their own, some clarity and stability.”
Sen. Todd Young, (R-IN) stated that Congress must address immigration policy.
“I continue to believe we must secure our southern border and fix our broken immigration system,” Young said. “Irrespective of today’s announcement, that requires a bipartisan solution in Congress that reforms our legal immigration system, prevents illegal immigration and addresses the question of what to do with undocumented men, women and children already here.”
Through an email from his press secretary, Stephanie Wilson, Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb said, “Congress needs to do its job and act quickly.”