MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Minnesota lawmakers are speaking out in support of DACA after the Trump administration moved Tuesday to phase out the program that protects young immigrants from deportation.
In a Tuesday morning news conference, Attorney General Jeff Sessions called the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA) an "unconstitutional" overreach of executive authority.
The program was created in 2012 under President Barack Obama, and it has shielded an estimated 800,000 young people from deportation.
President Donald Trump defended his move to wind down the program, saying that he's giving Congress a "window of opportunity" to act on immigration.
Here's a look at what Minnesota lawmakers had to say about Trump's decision:
Sen. Al Franken (Democrat)
"The men and women protected under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program—commonly known as DACA—are American in every single way except immigration status. Often called Dreamers, these are students, innovators, and entrepreneurs who were brought here as children and grew up in the United States. They're our friends, coworkers, and neighbors, and they make enormous contributions to the economies of Minnesota and the entire country. The decision by President Trump to end DACA is a disgrace to our moral values and principles. It's not who we are or should be as a nation.
"Let me be clear: I promise that I will fight to protect the Dreamers who live in Minnesota and across the country."
Sen. Amy Klobuchar (Democrat)
"I strongly disagree with President Trump's decision today, as do many Republicans, Democrats, business, labor and religious leaders. DREAMers were brought to our country as children and they only know one home -- the United States of America. They serve in our military, pay taxes, and contribute to communities across the country. The vast majority of these young people -- more than 97 percent -- are in school or the workforce. One recent study found that 72 percent of all DACA recipients currently in school are pursuing a bachelor's degree or higher.
"Ending DACA -- which has been in place since 2012 -- would create tremendous uncertainty and risk deportation for DREAMers across the country. I sent a letter urging the President to keep DACA in place along with 41 other Senators, and I stand ready to work with those on both sides of the aisle to preserve it through legislation."
Gov. Mark Dayton (Democrat)
"It's just shameful. You know, you've got Republican members of Congress as well as Democrats who are saying this is the wrong way to go. There are some 800,000 young people, who are in our schools, who are in our workforce, who are making quality contributions to our economy...to send them away, it's just lunacy."
— Governor Mark Dayton (@GovMarkDayton) September 5, 2017
Rep. Betty McCollum (Democrat, 4th District)
"President Trump's elimination of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program is a cruel betrayal of 800,000 young DREAMers who love this country and call America home. Deporting college students, first responders, and service members who came to America as children is bigoted, callous, and does nothing to make America stronger.
"House Republican leadership must immediately bring legislation to the House Floor to preserve DACA and protect DREAMers from deportation. House Democrats are united and we will fight to protect DREAMers and the best of American values they represent."
Rep. Tim Walz (Democrat, 1st District)
"Today's announcement does not reflect the values of our nation. Let me be clear: these children are Americans. This is their home. Deporting DREAMers, who contribute much to our society, harms our economy and our moral fabric.
"Congress must act. I call on Speaker Ryan and my Republican colleagues, some of whom have already expressed their support for DACA, to act immediately. This moment requires them to put their country and human decency over politics and I stand ready to work with them."
"My office stands ready to be a resource to any families in southern Minnesota who may be impacted by this announcement."
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