On September 5, 2017, Donald Trump announced that he was terminating the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. The Obama-era program provides temporary relief from deportation for an estimated 800,000 young immigrants. These immigrants have gone to our schools; they live and work in our communities; they have children who are American citizens; and now they’re at an even greater risk of deportation. Dreamers are Americans, and Congress must act immediately to protect them.
When Donald Trump created this crisis back in September 2017, he asked Congress to fix his mess by coming up with a permanent solution for Dreamers. What he never expected is that Congress actually would manage to find a compromise—but it did. Led by Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Richard Durbin (D-IL), the Senate reached a deal that would both provide a path to citizenship for Dreamers, and meet all of the White House’s requirements on border security.
How did Trump respond? He rejected the deal out of hand because it didn’t do enough to advance his nativist agenda. Specifically, the deal didn’t do enough to keep black and brown immigrants from “shithole countries” from coming to the U.S.
The truth is that Trump’s anti-immigrant and xenophobic agenda goes beyond his attacks against Dreamers. He has created a mass deportation force that is tearing our families and communities apart.
The Trump Administration is terrorizing immigrant communities. Raids on immigrant families are escalating. Mothers who have been here for over a decade have been ripped from the arms of their children. Immigrants with lawful status have been unlawfully detained. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has targeted parents picking their children up from school and even waited outside of courts to track down domestic abuse victims seeking protection. Because of fear of being detained or deported, immigrants are avoiding going to the doctor when they get sick, parents are pulling their kids out of school, and others are hiding deeper in the shadows.
This is what the Trump agenda represents. And this is why we all have to do what we can to defend our communities — citizens and noncitizens alike.