United States Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Tuesday announced the decision by Donald Trump to end the DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) program. The decision could result in the deportation of more than 750,000 people who have never known any home country other than the U.S.
Trump’s decision to trash DACA, a program initiated by President Barack Obama on August 15, 2012, that provides protection to those “dreamers” who arrived in the country as children, has been met with widespread protest. And on Tuesday, Obama himself took to his Facebook page to make a rare public statement critical of Trump policy.
In the lengthy statement, the 56-year-old Obama, who served two terms as the country’s 44th president from 2009 until Trump’s inauguration on January 20 of this year, derided Trump’s decision to end DACA as “self-defeating,” “cruel,” and one running counter to “basic decency.”
“Let’s be clear: the action taken today isn’t required legally,” Obama wrote in his statement.
“It’s a political decision, and a moral question… 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,” Obama stated.
Read the entire text of Obama’s DACA statement opposing Trump’s decision to end the program — a decision which economists say will slam America with a $215 billion hit to the country’s gross domestic product — below.
Obama’s vice president for the eight years of his two terms, Joe Biden, also posted a shorter statement to his own Twitter account, ripping Trump’s DACA decision.
Brought by parents, these children had no choice in coming here. Now they'll be sent to countries they've never known. Cruel. Not America.
— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) September 5, 2017
According to statistics compiled by the Center for America Progress, more than 90 percent of DACA “dreamers” currently hold jobs, earning an average wage of $17.46 per hour. Prior to Obama’s implementation of the DACA program, those same “dreamers” earned just $10.29 per hour on average.
To qualify for protection under DACA, immigrants must have arrived in the U.S. prior to the age of 16, and may not have been older than 31 by June 15, 2015. Even if they are not deported, losing DACA protection could result in more than 700,000 people losing jobs.
In announcing the end to DACA, a move which will not take effect for six months, Sessions claimed that Obama’s decisions in 2012 “contributed to a surge of unaccompanied minors on the southern border that yielded terrible humanitarian consequences. It also denied jobs to hundreds of thousands of Americans by allowing those same jobs to go to illegal aliens.”
But while there has been a surge in unaccompanied minors at the U.S.-Mexico border, that influx began in 2008, four years before Obama’s DACA decision, according to a study published in the academic journal International Migration. But even if that were not true, children who arrived in the U.S. after DACA took effect would not qualify for the program.
In addition, there is no evidence that DACA recipients have taken jobs that have resulted in those jobs being denied to U.S. citizens.
[Featured Image By Zach Gibson/Getty Images]