As former President Barack Obama slammed President Donald Trump’s decision to end the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program on Tuesday, thousands of undocumented immigrants and allies took to the streets in protest, including dozens arrested at a dramatic protest outside Trump Tower in New York City.
“Ultimately, this is about basic decency,” Obama wrote in a lengthy Facebook post, adding his voice to a chorus of condemnation that followed the announcement that the Trump administration will end DACA, which provides work permits and temporary protection from deportation to undocumented people brought to the U.S. as children.
“To target these young people is wrong—because they have done nothing wrong,” Obama continued. “It is self-defeating—because they want to start new businesses, staff our labs, serve in our military, and otherwise contribute to the country we love. And it is cruel.”
“To target these young people is wrong—because they have done nothing wrong. It is self-defeating—because they want to start new businesses, staff our labs, serve in our military, and otherwise contribute to the country we love. And it is cruel.”
Former President Barack Obama
In addition to calling upon members of Congress to pass immigration legislation—and noting they failed to do so during his eight years in office—Obama acknowledged the demonstrations, in favor of DACA, that have taken place nationwide for the past several days, adding: “It is precisely because this action is contrary to our spirit, and to common sense, that business leaders, faith leaders, economists, and Americans of all political stripes called on the administration not to do what it did today.”
Outside the White House and Trump Tower in New York City, as well as across the country, undocumented immigrants and supporters of immigrant rights turned up in droves to condemn the Trump administration’s decision, and compel Congress to take action to protect DACA recipients and the other millions of people living in the United States without legal status.
Elsewhere across the country, Dreamers and their supporters organized events to protest the decision and share their stories. In Chicago, Beyond Defending DACA #ProtectionForAll was scheduled as a evening gathering for individuals who will be impacted by the DACA announcement to “share their testimonies and ask allies to defend all immigrants.”
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel was among those who criticized the decision Tuesday, declaring the city a “Trump-free zone.” Chicago is among the cities suing the Justice Department for threats to cut off grant funding if the city’s police officers do not assist U.S. officials with implementing federal immigration laws.
California’s attorney general is one of several promising to legally challenge the administration’s decision to end DACA, and several Democratic politicians in California told the Times state officials will take whatever actions they can to protect Dreamers.
Jessica Corbett is staff writer at Commondreams.org.