Left, Right, and Center Call on Congress to Save DACA

Trump's rescinding of DACA has produced widespread condemnation and a demand that Congress act to reform immigration.


Jeff Sessions

The response has been swift and furious to today's announcement that in six months the Trump administration will rescind the Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy, which deferred deportations and granted work permits to some 800,000 individuals who'd been brought illegally to the United States by their parents.

As you'd expect, the move has received unconditional condemnation from civil liberties groups. The American Civil Liberties Union's Gabriela Melendez, for example, issued a statement saying that "there is no humane way to end DACA before having a permanent legislative fix in place. President Trump just threw the lives and futures of 800,000 Dreamers and their families, including my own, into fearful disarray, and injected chaos and uncertainty into thousands of workplaces and communities across America." Elected Democrats struck a similar tone, with Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren tweeting: "Turning our backs on Dreamers makes us weaker, makes us less safe, & betrays our values."

It's not just lefties opposing the change. Right-leaning business groups have come out against Trump's plan as well, saying the move would be bad for businesses, workers, and the economy. "Terminating their [DACA recipients] employment eligibility runs contrary to the president's goal of growing the U.S. economy," said Chamber of Commerce Senior Vice President Neil Bradley, adding that the his organization wants Trump and Congress to "work together to quickly find a legislative solution before the program expires."

The decision has critics within the GOP as well. Arizona Sen. John McCain—a frequent Trump critic—called it "the wrong approach to immigration policy at a time when both sides of the aisle need to come together to fix our broken immigration system and secure the border." McCain promised to work with Democrats to pass a legislative fix, saying that the proposed DREAM Act, which would give DACA recipients permeant legal status, is on the table for him.

Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul offered a somewhat similar sentiment, though he declined to call out Trump by name. "President Obama's executive order [DACA] was illegal," he tweeted. "However, this is a real problem we should solve in a bipartisan fashion." He also said that "There are ways to make sure people who have been here for many years since childhood are allowed to stay," adding that any legislative action on DACA should include efforts to "reduce and reform immigration in other areas."

House Speaker Paul Ryan, a necessary participant in any immigration reform, said he hoped for "a permanent legislative solution that includes ensuring that those who have done nothing wrong can still contribute as a valued part of this great country."

Running through all these reactions is a seemingly widespread consensus that immigrants brought here illegally by their parents should not be the targets of immigration enforcement, and that the ball is in Congress' court to protect DACA recipients.

Trump himself has said as much, and in a Tuesday morning tweet urged Congress to act: "Congress, get ready to do your job—DACA!"