SANTA BARBARA COUNTY, Calif. - The White House's decision to end DACA, a program that had protected approximately 800,000 young undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children from being deported, has created a wave of protests and condemnation from different communities and politicians on both sides of the aisle.
California Governor Jerry Brown said in a statement:
“This six-month so-called reprieve does not change the Governor’s views – the Trump Administration’s action to end DACA is senseless and cruel. California has its eyes on Congress to do what it should have done years ago, but we cannot bank on that. So the Governor stands with Attorney General Becerra as he takes our fight to court to defend the Dreamers.”
San Luis Obispo City Mayor Heidi Harmon shared this statement regarding Donald Trump's decision to end DACA:
“As a member of this community, and as the Mayor of San Luis Obispo I will do everything in my power to insure that those included under DACA will be protected, respected, and promises to them upheld. The people who were brought to this country by their parents in the hopes of having a better life have become a part of us, and a part of the fabric of our society."
"They are a vital part of our community, we are better because of them, and we will not stand by while promises are broken. Many of our local students are Dreamers and they perfectly represent what is great about this country and personify what the American Dream is meant to be. The actions being taken by the Federal Government are not only morally bankrupt but economically short-sighted to take away opportunities and freedom for these young people who are building their own lives while greatly contributing to our community."
U.S. Congressman Salud Carbajal said:
“DACA has given nearly 800,000 young people a shot at the American Dream, allowing them to come forward, live, work, and learn in the United States legally and without fear of deportation. This includes the over 9,000 students, entrepreneurs, and military members eligible for the program on the Central Coast. I was once a young immigrant to this nation, which has since given me the opportunity to work hard, raise my family, and serve my country both in the military and in Congress. Terminating DACA and stripping DREAMers of that hope and opportunity is unconscionable and incompatible with our American values.
“We cannot afford to abandon DACA recipients, who have lived in America all their lives and contribute to this country in many ways. Ending this program undermines our economic growth and competitiveness, costing our economy $490 billion in lost GDP over the next decade in addition to losing potential innovation and entrepreneurship.
“Congress must take immediate action to protect DREAMers before the program is set to expire. I am proud to co-sponsor the DREAM Act, to permanently codify DACA, and I urge my colleagues in the Majority to stand up for DREAMers by immediately bringing this legislation to the Floor for a vote.”
U.S. Congresswoman Julia Brownley shared this statement:
“The President’s decision to end the DACA program – effectively ripping the rug out from under nearly 800,000 young people who have been vetted and passed background checks – is heartless and irresponsible. These DREAMers came to America as minors, through no fault of their own. President Trump told them they could ‘rest easy.’ But now he has thrown them into six more months of limbo and uncertainty, turning them into political pawns.
“This decision isn’t just cruel – it is also harmful to our economy and our security. Removing DACA workers from the economy will lead to an estimated $11.6 billion annual loss in GDP for the state of California alone. Ending the DACA program also means deporting those who have chosen to sacrifice for our nation as members of our Armed Forces. It is disheartening to say to a young person who volunteers to fight for our country that they are not welcome here anymore.
“This is not the end of the fight. House Republicans must allow a vote on legislation to protect these young people because they are valuable assets to our nation. We cannot turn our backs on them.”
Janet Napolitano, President of the University of California system, said the following:
"I am deeply troubled by President Trump’s decision today to effectively end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. This backward-thinking decision is nothing less than a broken promise to high-achieving young people who study in our schools, serve in our military and rightfully call America home."
"As I have before, I am continuing to call upon the leaders of the U.S. Congress to immediately pass bipartisan legislation that would provide a permanent solution for these young people — one that charts a secure pathway toward citizenship and allows these Dreamers to continue to live, work, and serve the only country most of them know as home. These youth need our protection and encouragement, and it is incumbent upon Congress to approve legislation that removes the uncertainty caused by President Trump’s misguided decision."
"Since I worked to establish the DACA program in 2012, more than three-quarters of a million young immigrants have pursued a college education and launched meaningful careers, thousands of them right here on our UC campuses. These impressive students, most of whom were brought to the U.S. as infants and very young children, have worked hard to get to UC and they enrich our university community, and our society. Most are the first in their families to attend college, and they work hard to further their educations. Some are pursuing PhDs and have other ambitious, humanitarian goals."
"They represent the very best of our country and embody the spirit of the American dream."
To read Napolitano's full letter response, click here.
Santa Barbara City College President Anthony Beebe released the following Open Letter to students:
I am saddened this morning that the President of the United States is not honoring the executive order that created the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). As a DACA student, you should know that none of this is of your making. It is not your fault, and you are the innocent one in all of this. You were brought to this country as a child and you did not have a choice in the matter.
You have since been through considerable and unnecessary emotional distress, and we know this has not been easy for you. You are here at Santa Barbara City College because you want to better yourselves and contribute to the only country and community that you know -- this country and this community.
As the Chancellor of the California Community College system said in a message, “Ending DACA is a heartless and senseless decision that goes against American ideals and basic human decency. Those who are affected by this decision were brought to this country as children and are pursuing an education and making contributions to their communities.
Some have served in the armed forces defending this country. In California, we don’t put dreams -- or Dreamers -- on hold. The California Community Colleges remain committed to serving all students, regardless of immigration status and to providing safe and welcoming environments in which to learn. We will do all within our power to assist students affected by this decision, and we will advocate tirelessly in Congress for a permanent resolution to this issue.
Santa Barbara City College supports the Chancellor’s statement! I know I speak for the college trustees, faculty, staff, and administrators in telling you that we are united in support of you and that together, we will get through this. You should know that Barbara City College:
- Will not allow federal immigration officials on campus absent legal authority;
- Will not act on behalf of federal agencies to enforce immigration laws or aid in deportation;
- Does not share student records containing confidential information without written consent, a court order, or other legal mandate; and,
- Our college security will not participate in any voluntary program of immigration enforcement.
As more information becomes available, we will ensure that our students and campus community are informed and supported.
Former President Barack Obama shared a powerful statement with the American people on his Facebook page that said:
"Immigration can be a controversial topic. We all want safe, secure borders and a dynamic economy, and people of goodwill can have legitimate disagreements about how to fix our immigration system so that everybody plays by the rules."
"But that’s not what the action that the White House took today is about. This is about young people who grew up in America – kids who study in our schools, young adults who are starting careers, patriots who pledge allegiance to our flag. These Dreamers are Americans in their hearts, in their minds, in every single way but one: on paper. They were brought to this country by their parents, sometimes even as infants. They may not know a country besides ours. They may not even know a language besides English. They often have no idea they’re undocumented until they apply for a job, or college, or a driver’s license."
"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. We did so based on the well-established legal principle of prosecutorial discretion, deployed by Democratic and Republican presidents alike, because our immigration enforcement agencies have limited resources, and it makes sense to focus those resources on those who come illegally to this country to do us harm. Deportations of criminals went up. Some 800,000 young people stepped forward, met rigorous requirements, and went through background checks. And America grew stronger as a result."
"But today, that shadow has been cast over some of our best and brightest young people once again. To target these young people is wrong – because they have done nothing wrong. 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. What if our kid’s science teacher, or our friendly neighbor turns out to be a Dreamer? Where are we supposed to send her? To a country she doesn’t know or remember, with a language she may not even speak?"
"Let’s be clear: the action taken today isn’t required legally. It’s 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."
To read the full statement from the former president, click here.
The Central Coast Alliance United for a Sustainable Economy (CAUSE), a non-profit organization working to eliminate social injustices, also condemned the White House's actions on DACA:
"Today, the Trump administration showed its cruelty by abusing its power to rip away the right to live and work in the United States from 800,000 young people. There are 7,000 DACA eligible people in Ventura County and 6,000 in Santa Barbara County. DACA has allowed hundreds of thousands of young immigrants to build careers, buy homes, and live without the daily fear of being torn away from their families and communities."
"The powerful activism of immigrant youth won the creation of DACA by pushing the Obama administration to allow young people to reach the dreams their parents sacrificed everything for. The vision and courage of the immigrant youth that created DACA is stronger than ever, and will outlast any program or policy, and any presidential administration, to demand justice for all immigrants. This decision will be a disaster for the administration, revealing the callous racism at the heart of Trump's agenda and provoking mass organized resistance from the immigrant community and our allies."
"We call on our congressional representatives Brownley and Carbajal to take action to create a permanent legal status and a pathway to citizenship for immigrants under threat from the Trump administration. And now more than ever we demand our state Assemblymembers Limon and Irwin voice their support for SB54 and ensure the state of California does everything in our power to protect our immigrant communities by becoming a sanctuary state. Now is the time for all of our leaders to show where they stand."
California State University Channel Islands released the following statement:
"We are deeply dismayed by the announcement this morning from U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions that rescinds the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. This essential program has allowed thousands of students to pursue their greatest educational aspirations and share their intellectual and creative talents with the CSUCI community, our state and our nation."
"The action taken today will not alter our unwavering support of every member of our community and we will join our colleagues and our Chancellor in urging Congress to pursue legislation that will restore this vital program. At our campus, we believe that diversity is a source of our renewal and strength and we will continue to take steps to ensure that our campus is welcoming to all."
To read CSUCI's full statement, click here.
However, Republican opinions are mixed as not every politician shares the same view as their colleagues. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell praised Trump's move to end DACA by releasing this statement:
"President Obama wrongly believed he had the authority to re-write our immigration law. Today's action by President Trump corrects that fundamental mistake...This Congress will continue working on securing our border and ensuring a lawful system of immigration that works."
The Department of Homeland Security will stop processing new applications for the DACA program immediately. The matter now heads to Congress to act to preserve the program's protections before DACA recipients lose their status in March 2018.