Congressman Alcee L. Hastings (D-FL) released the following statement after President Donald John Trump announced his intention to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program:
“President Trump’s decision to terminate the DACA program is both illogical and immoral. Just one day after our nation marked Labor Day, the President’s decision will cost our country tens of thousands of jobs and billions of dollars in revenue. More importantly, this decision tells the more than 800,000 DACA recipients that they are neither valued nor wanted, while in truth, they are invaluable.
“DACA recipients are here in search of the American dream: to better their education and to make a better life for themselves and their families. Casting them aside as lawbreakers or criminals is reprehensible.
“In February, President Trump pledged to address DREAMERs and immigration reform ‘with heart.’ He promised that he would ‘take care of everybody.’ Just last week, Vice President Pence reiterated that the President would act with ‘big heart’ to ensure that undocumented immigrants benefiting from DACA would be treated fairly. Regrettably, we have been reminded once again just how heartless this President is.
“President Trump’s about-face means that Congress must get to work at once to protect DREAMERs. My Republican colleagues now have a choice: stand with their President, or stand with their country. It is far past time for Congress to come together and fix our broken immigration system by providing a path to citizenship that is fair to all people – those who already call America home and those who yearn to enjoy our country’s dedication to liberty and freedom for all.”
According to the Migration Policy Institute, approximately 1.9 million people were eligible for DACA in 2016. In order to be eligible for the program, recipients must have come to the United States before turning 16, been younger than 31 on June 15, 2012, and lived in the U.S. since June 15, 2007. In a 2017 Center for American Progress survey of roughly 3,000 DACA recipients, 90 percent of respondents reported having jobs and 72 percent reported being enrolled in higher education.
Congressman Alcee L. Hastings serves as Senior Member of the House Rules Committee, Ranking Democratic Member of the U.S. Helsinki Commission, and Co-Chairman of the Florida Delegation.