• July 24th, 2024
  • Wednesday, 06:25:46 AM

‘Stop Using Our Young People as Leverage’

President Donald Trump was slammed by immigrant rights advocates and Democrats in Congress on Tuesday for declaring that “activists and Hispanics” would be “falling in love” with him and Republicans despite offering no coherent evidence for such a prediction.

Ahead of a Wednesday meeting at the White House to discuss reinstating Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) protections that were previously granted to undocumented immigrants who entered the United States as children, on Jan 2, the Republican president tweeted: “Democrats are doing nothing for DACA – just interested in politics. DACA activists and Hispanics will go hard against Dems, will start ‘falling in love’ with Republicans and their President! We are about RESULTS.”

Outrage has continued to grow since Trump terminated DACA in September and thousands of Dreamers—a term often used to describe DACA recipients, because the program was inspired by the DREAM Act—have lost their protected status. Immigrant advocates were quick to fire back at Trump’s remarks on social media:

California Congressman Ted Lieu tweeted, “Dear @realDonaldTrump: Remember when Democrats last year rescinded the DACA program with an expiration in 6 months? Oh wait …. we didn’t do that.”

The American Civil Liberties Union tweeted, “Reminder: You ended DACA.”

On Jan 2, Attorney David Leopold tweeted, “Stop lying. You, not the Democrats, cancelled #DACA exposing over a million #DREAMERs to Deportation; You, not the Democrats, have unleashed the ICE Deportation Force to tear apart American families across the US; You, not the Dems, are separating refugee children from parents.”

Immigration activist, Erika Andiola tweeted, “BOTH parties have failed us for almost two decades since the Dream Act was introduced. Let’s get the facts straight. YOU took our DACA away. YOU ran on a platform to deport us. We will not forget.”

In a follow-up tweet featuring a link to Tuesday’s Boston Globe editorial—which calls on Congress to immediately address DACA and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP)—Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) accused Republican lawmakers and Trump of wanting “to play political games” with Dreamers and children’s healthcare. “Let’s pass these bills now and stop using our young people as leverage,” he said.

Despite the support from Rep. Lieu and Rep. Markey on Tuesday, Democratic leaders in Congress failed to deliver on their promises to force action on DACA before the New Year. As Common Dreams has reported, immigrant advocates are growing increasingly weary of what a final deal with the Trump administration will look like.

Even so, they remain critical of Trump, who came under fire last week for positioning Dreamers as a “bargaining chip” for building a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border and implementing other aspects of his immigration agenda. The outcry came in response to what the Republican president had tweeted Dec. 29: “The Democrats have been told, and fully understand, that there can be no DACA without the desperately needed WALL at the Southern Border and an END to the horrible Chain Migration & ridiculous Lottery System of Immigration etc. We must protect our Country at all cost!”


Jessica Corbett is a staff writer for Common Dreams.


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