UPDATE: Hawai‘i Legislators Comment on Trump’s DACA Decision
UPDATE: Sept. 5, 2017, 9:35 a.m.
Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard released the following statement:
“President Trump’s decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program is wrong,” Rep Gabbard said. “It will break up families and punish young people who were brought to this country as minors through no choice or fault of their own. These are people who have grown up in the United States, and who know no other country to be their home. DACA transformed the lives and futures of hundreds of thousands of young people, in Hawai‘i and across the country. Because of DACA they’ve been able to go to college, find a job, support their family, serve their country, and live free from the constant fear of deportation.
“In my home state of Hawai‘i, DACA has allowed more than 600 young people to remain legally in our country and contribute to our economy and society, including a member of my staff who came to the United States as a minor from Zimbabwe. Last week on Maui, I had the opportunity to hear from some of Hawai‘i’s DREAMers and hear their heart-wrenching stories about living in fear and in the shadows until DACA was put into effect. They cried as they shared their stories of the opportunity and freedom they have experienced because of DACA, and the fear of uncertainty in what lies ahead with the prospects of being forced to leave the only home they’ve ever known. Congress must act now to enact a permanent solution for these DREAMers and pass the bipartisan DREAM Act now.”
ORIGINAL POST: Sept. 5, 2017, 7:47 a.m.
President Trump and his top advisers today announced they will rescind an Obama-era “dreamer” immigration program—the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which was implemented in 2012, allowing younger undocumented immigrants to live in the country without fear of deportation.
The DREAM Act is a legislative proposal for a multi-phase process for qualifying alien minors in the U.S. that would first grant conditional residency and, upon meeting further qualifications, permanent residency.
The Trump Administration called calling the program unconstitutional but offered a delay to give Congress a chance to address the issue.
The action represents a blow to hundreds of thousands of immigrants known as “dreamers” who have lived in the country illegally since they were children.
Trump’s order, deferring the actual end of the program, passes the responsibility for the fate of the Dreamers to the Republicans who control Congress.
Hawai‘i Sens. Mazie Hirono and Brian Schatz both commented on the action.
“I reject any effort to hold these young people hostage for an unnecessary waste of money like Donald Trump’s wall,” said Sen. Hirono.
“After months of empty rhetoric to the contrary, the president took the cruel and unnecessary step to eliminate DACA—exposing more than 800,000 young people to deportation,” Sen. Hirono said. “They are not criminals. They are inspiring young people aptly called ‘DREAMers’ because of their dream of making a better life for themselves in the only country they know.
“Ending DACA is the latest step this president has taken to attack minority communities and stoke the fear and divisiveness that served as pillars of his campaign and inform his presidency,” she said.
“DACA is clearly constitutional,” said Sen. Hirono. “But by rescinding the program, the president puts the onus on Congress to act. Congress must take appropriate action to provide permanent legal status to DREAMers.
“I want to be clear: I reject any effort to hold these young people hostage for an unnecessary waste of money like Donald Trump’s wall.
“I will continue to stand with these inspiring young people and groups all across the country to fight this latest cruel and totally unjustifiable action by the president,” Sen. Hirono concluded.
Sen. Schatz said, “This is one of the most inhumane things this administration could do. It doesn’t matter where you stand on immigration. We should all be able to agree that people who came here as children, who have grown up as American as anyone else’s kids, should not be stripped away from the communities they’re a part of to go back to a country they don’t remember.
“People trusted the government when they chose to register as Dreamers. And now, this administration has betrayed their trust and will ruin their lives.”