U. of C., Obama and Mayor respond to Trump in response to the end of DACA

By TONIA HILL
Staff Writer

President Donald Trump’s administration announced today, Sept. 5., the end of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy.

Trump in statement on Tuesday called on Congress to act.

“I am not going to just cut DACA off, but rather provide a window of opportunity for Congress to finally act,” Trump said in a written statement.

DACA is an immigration policy created in 2012 by former President Barack Obama to assist undocumented young people who came to the U.S. as children.

Under the plan, undocumented young people who entered the country before their 16th birthday and before June 2007 can receive a renewable two-year work permit and are exempt from deportation.

About 800,000 people across the country are DACA recipients.

University of Chicago (U. of C.) President, Robert Zimmer, and Provost Daniel Diermeier over the holiday weekend penned a letter to the president urging him to continue the DACA program:

“This important program has made it possible for about 800,000 students who live in the United States to pursue opportunities that might otherwise be closed to them, and to flourish in ways that greatly benefit themselves, their fellow students, and their communities. Like their peers at the University of Chicago, our students who qualify for DACA are among the most talented and intellectually energetic students in the world. Our university community and our nation will be diminished if they are unable to continue contributing their talents here.”

The U. of C.’s College Council in the previous academic year sought to protect undocumented, and DACA protected students.

In January, the College Council passed two resolutions in support of DACA.

The first resolution called for the creation of a taskforce to support undocumented, “DACAmented,” and international students and the second would make the university a sanctuary campus.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions, on Tuesday, said the policy was an overreach by the Obama Administration.

“In other words, the executive branch, through DACA, deliberately sought to achieve what the legislative branch specifically refused to authorize on multiple occasions. Such an open-ended circumvention of immigration laws was an unconstitutional exercise of authority by the Executive Branch,” Sessions said in a written statement.

DACA will be phased out over the next few months according to the Department of Homeland Security.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) said it would not process any new applications for the DACA program. Applications that have been approved will still be processed.

Additionally, DHS stated that it would renew permits for current DACA recipients whose status expires between now and the March 2018 deadline.

Obama, on Tuesday, also addressed the Trump administration’s move to end DACA.

He referred to the decision as “cruel.”

“To target these young people is wrong – because they have done nothing wrong,” Obama said in a written 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.”

He also stated that the action is a political decision and a moral question.

“Whatever concerns or complaints Americans may have about immigration in general, we shouldn’t threaten the future of this group of young people who are here through no fault of their own, who pose no threat, who are not taking away anything from the rest of us,” Obama said in a written statement. “Kicking them out won’t lower the unemployment rate, or lighten anyone’s taxes, or raise anybody’s wages.”

Mayor Rahm Emanuel issued a statement on the decision as well.

“President Trump’s decision to end DACA is not only harmful to these young people, it strikes a blow against our core American values and is an affront to basic human decency,” Emanuel said in a written statement. “It is a betrayal of more than 800,000 children who have done nothing wrong and of the unique role the United States has played in the world for centuries.”

Emanuel also ensured that the city of Chicago would continue to welcome Dreamers [DACA recipients] and protect the rights of children and immigrant communities.

t.hill@hpherald.com