GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – Several West Michigan lawmakers and area residents are reacting to this morning’s announcement of the ending of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
The DACA program, enacted by President Obama in 2012, allowed for the children who came to the U.S. undocumented to avoid deportation. President Trump rescinded the program Tuesday, and gave the program six months in which Congress could enact a similar program.
Currently, DACA protects nearly 800,000 people living, studying and working nationwide. According to the ACLU of Michigan, more than 6,400 Michiganders benefit from DACA and ending the program would cost Michigan more than $418.6 million in annual gross domestic product losses.
“This is an incredibly cruel day for DREAMers,” said Miriam Aukerman, senior attorney with the ACLU of Michigan.
“DREAMers are young people who have been contributing to this country, who’ve grown up here, lived here, many of whom don’t have any memory of the countries that are on their paperwork. They are as American as you or I are, and yet they have their dreams today were dashed. The President took away 800,000 people’s lives in one fell swoop.”
Governor Rick Snyder (R – MI) released the following statement Tuesday in defense of DACA:
“We are the best Michigan when we are a diverse Michigan – one that is made up of people whose stories and journeys are not identical. One path to success and prosperity looks different than the next, which should be celebrated and encouraged. Many are working toward success under the existing DACA, and for the certainty of their future Congress should act quickly to authorize and clarify their status.
“In Michigan we will continue to honor everyone’s journey who has become part of our family of 10 million people, and remain the most welcoming state in the nation for immigrants and dreamers seeking prosperity, a home and a community that is accepting of their family and their desire to succeed in America.”
Rallies in support of DACA are scheduled for 5:00 p.m. at Bronson Park in Kalamazoo and at 7:00 p.m. at Rosa Parks Circle in Grand Rapids. The Grand Rapids Public Schools are making a statement of support of DACA at 6:00 p.m. at the school administration building before their regularly scheduled board meeting.
U.S. Representative Fred Upton (R-St. Joseph.) made the following statement:
“For these young men and women, the United States is their home. They’ve been raised in our neighborhoods, attended our schools, served in our military, and worked in our communities. I’ve met with countless concerned individuals impacted by DACA and heard from local universities, restaurant and small business owners, as well as my farmer friends who all agree we must take care of these folks. This is why I’ve long-supported using a compassionate but accountable way to legislatively address these undocumented minors brought to our country through no fault of their own.
“Rather than executive order, it is the responsibility of Congress to work together on fair, rigorous, and bipartisan legislation that addresses the long-term uncertainty facing these young people. To that end, I have already co-sponsored two bills that represent common-sense ways to address DACA. In the coming weeks and months I will continue to work with anyone to fix our long-broken immigration system and to give certainty to Dreamers who know no country but America.”
Background: Upton is a co-sponsor of H.R. 496, the BRIDGE Act, and the Recognizing America’s Children (RAC) Act.
U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow (D – MI) tweeted:
U.S. Representative Justin Amash (R – Grand Rapids) tweeted:
U.S. Representative Bill Huizenga (R – Grandville) released this statement:
“The only way to achieve concrete and lasting immigration reform is for Congress to formulate and pass bipartisan legislation. It is my hope that both Republicans and Democrats will rise to the challenge and focus on crafting solutions that move us forward instead of engaging in rhetoric that is geared toward dividing our nation.”
Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette:
“America must have a hopeful and welcoming immigration policy. Our immigration system is broken and Congress should pass corrective legislation, and we should not punish the children who see America as a beacon of hope.”
We’ll have more reactions as they become available.