CA Groups Criticize DACA Decision; Push Passage of Dream Act

Photo Credit: Morguefile

Suzanne Potter
California News Service

LOS ANGELES – California is home to one in four Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients in the country – or about 228,000 people – so President Donald Trump’s decision to end the program has provoked a storm of criticism from a wide range of groups.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions said Tuesday that no new applications from people brought here as children will be processed, effective immediately.

Joshua Pechthalt, president of the California Federation of Teachers, said many students who now face an uncertain future may have a hard time concentrating in school.

“It’s a very bad day,” he said, “and I think that it’s reflective of an administration that they say they have heart, they say they’re concerned about these young people – but in the end, they’re more concerned about campaign promises.”

Sessions said the move is necessary to restore the rule of law. Congress could throw the so-called “Dreamers” a lifeline by passing the DREAM Act or some version of comprehensive immigration reform. However, lawmakers have been unable to agree on this issue for many years, going back to a failed attempt during the George W. Bush administration.

Karen Ferguson, executive director of the Northern California division of the International Rescue Committee, said she was horrified to hear of DACA’s demise.

“President Obama called this decision ‘cruel and lacking in decency.’ I don’t think I can say it better than that,” she said. “This is not what America is about.”

Statistics show that 95 percent of “Dreamers” are working or in school and five percent have started their own businesses. Dr. Robert Ross, president and chief executive of the California Endowment, said the loss of these workers and businesses will hurt the economy.

“These DACA recipients contribute more than $1.2 billion annually in federal, state and local tax revenues,” he said. “The decision to dismantle DACA is morally bankrupt, and economically silly for the future of this nation.”

Certain DACA participants who are eligible to renew their permits have until Oct. 5 to apply. The extensions then will expire in two years, making those people subject to deportation.