Kansas City reacts to President Trump's decision on DACA - KCTV5

Kansas City reacts to President Trump's decision on DACA

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President Donald Trump (CBS) President Donald Trump (CBS)
KANSAS CITY, KS (KCTV) -

President Donald Trump on Tuesday began dismantling the government program protecting hundreds of thousands of young immigrants who were brought into the country illegally as children. 

Attorney General Jeff Sessions declared the Obama administration's program "an unconstitutional exercise of authority" that must be revoked.

New applications will be halted for President Barack Obama's Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which has provided nearly 800,000 young immigrants a reprieve from deportation and the ability to work legally in the U.S. in the form of two-year, renewable work permits.

In Kansas City, immigration advocates with "COSECHA" are gathering at the J.C. Nichols Fountain to stand in support of DACA. 

They hope Congress might step in and pass DACA into law. 

“They have the opportunity to vote yes on the Bridge Act," said Jessica Piedra, an immigration attorney. "It would take the DACA program from being an executive action to being an actual law. So we're calling on lawmakers to take action as soon as possible so that these students can know what might happen for them.”

If one's DACA status expires in the next six months, they have until Oct. 5 to apply for a two-year renewal. All other DACA holders can keep their status and work permits until they expire. 

Piedra said Tuesday's decision has left her hundreds of DACA clients feeling afraid. 

“'What does this mean for me? I'm in college. Am I going to be able to continue my studies? I'm working. Am I going to keep my job? My entire family is here. Am I going to be separated from them?'" Those are the questions that these young people have and want the answers to.”

The message from President Trump's White House is if lawmakers like DACA, they should pass legislation on it. 

Local officials, colleges react to decision. 

U.S. House Rep. Lynn Jenkins (R-KS) says she hopes Congress finds a "permanent solution through legislation:"

“In the past, I expressed frustration with President Obama for using his "pen and phone" to govern instead of working with Congress. We have 3 branches of government and it is Congress’ role to create policy. Now, Congress has been asked to come up with a solution within 6 months to help reform our immigration system. These children did not come to America on their own terms, they simply followed their parents. In the coming weeks, I look forward to working with my colleagues to create a permanent solution through the legislative process with input from Kansans in the 2nd District.”

U.S. House Rep. Sam Graves (R-MO) applauded Trump's decision: 

“DACA was passed without the consent of Congress or the will of the American people. We are a nation of laws, and an unconstitutional executive order granting amnesty to illegal immigrants has no place in our legal system. President Obama himself acknowledged that he did not have the power to grant amnesty to entire groups of illegal immigrants before announcing DACA in 2012. I’m glad to see President Trump make the decision to end DACA today, to stop amnesty and restore the rule of law to our nation’s immigration system. Congress writes laws, not the President, and I look forward to helping shape a bill that addresses the problems caused by executive amnesty and illegal immigration in the coming months.”

Donnelly College in KCK issued the following statement: 

“The repeal of DACA will affect institutions of higher education across the country, but more importantly, it will have a negative impact on our students, their families and our community at large. We must remember that regardless of how they came to us, they are here now, and they are human beings."

Rockhurst University President Rev. Thomas B. Curran responded: 

"As a Catholic, Jesuit institution of higher learning we are invited to accompany the most vulnerable among us. Our core value of cura personalis encourages us to see one another as companions in movement towards union with God. Hence, the president’s decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program is disheartening and disturbing.

"The hundreds of thousands of immigrants who arrived in the U.S. as children and who are affected by this decision are being denied their human dignity. They are not aliens; they are not unlawful beings; they are more than a statistic or a political bargaining chip; they are visitors who seek to become permanent residents and citizens. They fully desire to help us pursue and achieve the common good.

"I hope this recent decision prompts us to insist that the U.S. Congress swiftly secure the bipartisan legislation known as the DREAM Act of 2017 as a humane, lasting solution. And, may it be fully consistent with the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights (1948) that codified the moral imperative for the care for all of our brothers and sisters, our companions on this earthly pilgrimage."

U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) called Trump's decision "dumb." 

“Taking young people who were brought here through no fault of their own, and have never known another country, and kicking them out of America is as dumb as it is counterproductive. Over 90 percent of them are in school or working and many have proudly served our country in uniform. Republican leaders in Congress should use this opportunity to finally stop sitting on their hands and tackle this issue so there is certainty and the rule of law to allow these young people to keep contributing to America.”

U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt's statement (R-MO): 

"The young people in the DACA program need a permanent, commonsense solution that will allow them to continue working and going to school in the only country that many of them have ever known. The manner in which this program was created has left DACA recipients in legal limbo for too long, and Congress now has a responsibility to work toward a legislative solution. At the same time, it is imperative that we continue working with the president to strengthen our border security. Enhancing our border security will help facilitate progress toward addressing all aspects of our broken immigration system."

U.S. House Rep. Kevin Yoder (R-KS):

"I have great sympathy for minors that were illegally brought to the United States through no fault of their own and who know no other country than the United States of America. We are a nation of immigrants. Yet, we are also a nation that values the rule of law, and President Obama’s DACA order was an unconstitutional abuse of executive authority.

The Administration is right to restore proper balance of powers under our Constitution. I opposed President Obama's ‘temporary stopgap measure’ as he called it five years ago - in which he said ‘this is not amnesty, this is not immunity, this is not a path to citizenship’ - because it would leave many undocumented immigrants in limbo, with no real status.

That has now proven to be the case. While the program may have been conceived with good intentions, it has served as a magnet, bringing tens of thousands of new immigrants, exacerbating our illegal immigration challenges, and creating a humanitarian crisis at the border.

The President has given Congress a six-month window to act on immigration reform, and that's exactly what we should do. We must secure our borders, repair our broken visa program, and provide needed reforms and certainty and stability for minors. We must pursue policies that are both compassionate and restore the rule of law in our country. I do not favor deporting 'dreamers' but their status is a decision that can only be made by an act of Congress and should be one that improves our legal immigration process and secures our border. Otherwise we will be left with a piecemeal mess, which is what we have on our hands today."

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