Brooklyn Democratic Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke on Wednesday strongly denounced President Donald J. Trump’s effort to end protections for young undocumented Caribbean and other immigrants, under former President Barack Obama’s policy, known as “Dreamers.”
Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program allowed about 650,000 undocumented Caribbean and other immigrants to live and work in the US legally.
But, while the US Supreme Court had ruled to invalidate Trump’s first attempt to terminate the policy, Trump moved this week to impose new restrictions on the program.
“After the Supreme Court ruled that his previous attempt to terminate DACA could not proceed, the bigot-in-chief and his xenophobic administration have cobbled together a new plan to make the lives of young immigrants more difficult,” Clarke, the daughter of Jamaican immigrants, told Caribbean Life.
“Donald Trump campaigned on ending DACA, and this decision should serve as proof that he is willing to use even the smallest authorization of his power to end this program,” added the representative for the primarily Caribbean 9th Congressional District in Brooklyn.
“45 has spent the last three and a half years of his term demonizing and denigrating immigrant folk of all backgrounds,” continued Clarke, referring to the 45th President of the United States. “From his ineffective wall to calling immigrants ‘an invasion of our country’ to caging young children at the border, this president’s cruelty knows no bounds.”
She said attacking DACA recipients “is the latest move of an unpopular president facing electoral defeat.
“In an attempt to excite voters, who relate to his pattern of xenophobia and racism, he has issued this policy as a cheap dog-whistle,” the congresswoman said. “DACA recipients are Americans, plain and simple.
“This president said that he would put ‘Americans First,’ but he has repeatedly shown us that the only Americans he is interested in defending are the ones who share his background,” Clarke added. “I will continue to stand by our beloved ‘Dreamers’, even when this administration refuses to.”
Acting US Secretary of Homeland Security Chad F. Wolf announced on Tuesday that in response to the Supreme Court’s decision, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will take action “to thoughtfully consider the future of the DACA policy, including whether to fully rescind the program.”
In the interim and to address “serious concerns with the policy,” Wolf said in a statement that DHS will make a number of changes to DACA immediately.
He said DHA will “reject all initial requests for DACA and associated applications for Employment Authorization Documents; Reject new and pending requests for advanced parole absent exceptional circumstances; and, limit the period of renewed deferred action granted pursuant to the DACA policy after the issuance of this memorandum to one year.”
“As the department continues looking at the policy and considers future action, the fact remains that Congress should act on this matter,” Wolf said. “There are important policy reasons that may warrant the full rescission of the DACA policy.”
Wolf said the new memorandum outlined “four areas of concern: Concern about whether, as a matter of policy, continuation of a broad, class-based deferred-action policy like DACA should be resolved by Congress; concern about whether any discretion to not enforce the law or afford deferred action should be exercised rarely and only on a truly individualized, case-by-case basis; concern that the existence of a program like DACA may send mixed messages about DHS’s intention to consistently enforce immigration laws as Congress has written them; and, concern that the existence of a program like DACA may encourage individuals to take a perilous journey to this country, needlessly endangering children.”
Pending his “full reconsideration of the DACA policy,” Wolf said he directed DHS personnel “to take all appropriate actions to reject all pending and future initial requests for DACA, to reject all pending and future applications for advance parole absent exceptional circumstances, and to shorten DACA renewals consistent with the parameters established in this memorandum.”
Mark Rosenbaum, a lawyer on the case against Trump’s move to eliminate DACA that reached the US Supreme Court, said he has no option but to return to court on the matter.
“We obviously have no choice but to go back to court,” he told the New York Times. “It was illegal the first time, and now it’s a constitutional crisis. It’s as if a Supreme Court decision was written with invisible ink.”