As the country reacts to President Donald Trump’s decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program – including Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) – one of the members of the president’s National Diversity Coalition has resigned, and one major U.S. city has announced plans to continue to welcome “dreamers.”
On Tuesday, after U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the administration would end the Obama-era DACA program, which gave children brought to the country illegally amnesty, Javier Palomarez resigned from the president’s coalition.
While AG Sessions said the program was an “unconstitutional immigration policy,” Palomarez, who is also the president and CEO of the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, said the decision is “inhumane and economically harmful.”
According to reports, Palomarez said: “This disgraceful action goes against not only the values of this country but also against the promise of this administration to focus homeland security resources toward individuals who have committed violent crimes and pose a threat to communities across the country. Let’s lay the truth bare: President Trump has knowingly deceived the American people over the past seven months about his intentions to protect the innocent young men and women of the DACA program.”
Palomarez was referring to President Trump’s remarks previously, in which he told DACA recipients to “rest easy,” and assured that the U.S. is “not after the Dreamers, we are after criminals.”
The decision could not have been easy. With strong emotional and political viewpoints about the subject coming from all sides, political fallout was likely no matter what decision President Trump made. However, his conservative base, which carried him to victory in the 2016 election, was relying on the president to keep his word about ending the program.
In his own statement on the matter, President Trump said: “As President, my highest duty is to defend the American people and the Constitution of the United States of America. At the same time, I do not favor punishing children, most of whom are now adults, for the actions of their parents. But we must also recognize that we are [a] nation of opportunity because we are a nation of laws.”
Trump said officials from 10 states are currently suing over the program, and that his administration had to make a decision regarding the legality of a program former President Barack Hussein Obama instituted “unilaterally,” after Congress repeatedly failed to act on the so-called Dreamers.
“President Obama admitted that ‘I can’t just do these things by myself’ – and yet that is exactly what he did, making an end-run around Congress and violating the core tenets that sustain our Republic,” the president wrote.
Palomarez believes that Trump purposely misled the country, however, in saying “we love the Dreamers” and that he was eager to treat them with “heart.”
“The president misled our country by fabricating a position and making a promise, only to turn around and do the complete opposite,” Palomarez reportedly said. “The administration’s pro-growth agenda has sadly fallen to irrelevancy with the president’s lack of leadership, constant distractions and inability to unite the country.”
“I will never cease advocating for pro-growth policies to benefit the 4.2 million Hispanic-owned businesses across the country with our congress and administration, but have decided to officially resign from the President’s National Diversity Coalition effective immediately,” he continued. “It is now up to Congress to unite and pass meaningful legislation that will protect Dreamers.”
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel (D) also reacted to the decision Tuesday by saying Chicago will continue to welcome “Dreamers.”
“To all the Dreamers that are here in this room, and in the city of Chicago, you are welcomed in the city of Chicago. This is your home and you have nothing to worry about,” Emanuel said in a prepared statement.
“So, to all those who are part of what are referred to as DACA, or ‘Dreamers,’ you will always be ‘Dreamers’ in the eyes of the city of Chicago because you have big dreams and we want to be a part of those dreams,” Emanuel said.
Emanuel, who served as chief of staff for a year and a half during former President Obama’s first term, was not part of the administration when Obama created the DACA program in 2012.
On Tuesday, the Department of Homeland Security issued a statement following Sessions’ briefing. In it, it said the “[a]dministration’s decision to terminate DACA was not taken lightly.”
The statement said that after careful analysis, the Department of Justice determined there were two options for the future of the program:
- wind the program down in an orderly fashion while protecting beneficiaries for a time to allow Congress to pass legislation, or
- potentially allow the judiciary to shut the program down completely with no time for Congress to respond
“We chose the least disruptive option,” the statement points out.
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