Source: Huffington Post
By Elise Foley
“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.”
WASHINGTON ― Former President Barack Obama said Tuesday that President Donald Trump’s decision to dismantle the program protecting young undocumented immigrants was “contrary to our spirit, and to common sense.”
Trump announced Tuesday that he will end Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA, in six months. Unless Congress steps in, ending the program could put nearly 800,000 undocumented young people at risk of deportation and unable to work legally when their two-year permits expire.
Obama said it was a “political decision, and a moral question” ― and one of basic decency.
“To target these young people is wrong ― because they have done nothing wrong,” he said in a statement. “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. 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.”
Obama started the program in 2012 and urged undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as children to come forward to the government, pay a fee and undergo a background check before receiving a two-year work permit and reprieve from deportation.
He did so after legislative efforts to help Dreamers ― which are being revived now because of Trump’s decisions ― failed multiple times, as he noted in his statement.
″[B]ecause 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,” Obama said.