It wasn't long after the Trump administration announced Tuesday that it would begin to shutter an Obama-era immigration policy, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals [DACA], that supporters of the program voiced their disappointment of the decision.
DACA is a policy implemented in 2012 that was designed to protect immigrants brought to the United States as children.
While the Trump administration will begin winding down DACA, it invited Congress to preserve it through legislation within six months.
California is home to more than 220,000 DACA recipients, the largest in the nation. Texas has the second most with over 124,000 recipients, according to data from the U.S Citizenship and Immigration Services.
Among the many voicing their disappointment were regional university presidents, including those at California State University, Sacramento and University of California, Davis and Berkeley.
Sacramento State President Robert S. Nelsen said it was with “great sadness and frustration” when he learned of the President’s decision to rescind DACA, noting how vital the program had been for young people who had to the U.S without documentation to “pursue the life they deserve,” he said.
“America is home to hundreds of thousands of these young people,” Nelsen wrote. “Their lives should not be destroyed to make a political statement.”
Meanwhile, UC Davis Chancellor Gary S May shared similar disappointment in the repeal.
“Turning our backs on these students is not who we are,” May wrote. “At UC Davis, we open our doors to the world and give the best and brightest a chance to shine, no matter where they happened to be born.”
Both Nelsen and May shared their support for both students and faculty potentially impacted by the DACA repeal.
Nelsen provided several campus resources available to those in need of support, “struggling with despair or hopelessness,” imploring them to reach out.
Los Rios Community College District Chancellor Brian King released a statement prior to the Tuesday White House announcement, stating the imminence of the very decision today.
“It’s imperative that we all remain vigilant on this issue and that we understand what resources are available to support students in this uncertain time,” King wrote.
Like Nelsen and May, King also provided Los Rios resources.
“We are heartbroken for our undocumented immigrant communities,” UC Berkeley Chancellor Carol Christ said in a written statement. “These communities include many of our students and families, who made the difficult decision to migrate here in pursuit of economic and educational opportunity; or to escape poverty, persecution, human rights violation or armed conflict.”
President Trump stated Tuesday he was not in favor of punishing children, “most of whom are now adults, for the actions of their parents,” he said. However, Trump added, “we must also recognize that we are a nation of opportunity because we are a nation of laws.”
Some California democratic leaders condemned the President’s decision to rescind DACA, including Sen. Kamala Harris, who immediately expressed her disappointment in the repeal as well as her pledge to those impacted by it.
“The heartless move to rescind DACA is a betrayal of our promise to Dreamers. It’s not own Congress to pass the Dream Act,” Harris wrote on Twitter minutes after the White House announcement. She later wrote, “My message to Dreamers: We see you. We stand with you. We will fight to ensure you can stay in the country you call home."
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