Former President Barack Obama lashed out at President Donald Trump’s decision to rescind his DACA executive action, labeling the move as ‘cruel’ in an immediate admonition of his predecessor following the move.
Obama defended DREAMers – people brought here illegally as children –– as ‘patriots’ who are ‘American in their hearts’ – and cast Trump’s move as ‘political’ decision.
‘To target these young people is wrong – because they have done nothing wrong,’ Obama wrote in a Facebook post published hours after Trump announced his decision in a written statement following a speech by Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
‘It is self-defeating – because they want to start new businesses, staff our labs, serve in our military, and otherwise contribute to the country we love. And it is cruel.’
Former President Barack Obama lashed out at President Donald Trump’s decision to rescind his DACA executive action
‘What if our kid’s science teacher, or our friendly neighbor turns out to be a Dreamer?’ Obama asked. ‘Where are we supposed to send her? To a country she doesn’t know or remember, with a language she may not even speak?’
Obama had vowed in his farewell press conference to speak out when he felt the nation’s ‘core values’ were at stake – and mentioned the DREAMers as one of them.
‘The notion that we would just arbitrarily or because of politics punish those kids, when they didn’t do something themselves … would merit my speaking out, ‘Obama said in January.
In June, he posted an essay blasting the Senate’s ‘skinny bill’ to repeal Obamacare. ‘The Senate bill, unveiled today, is not a health care bill. It’s a massive transfer of wealth from middle-class and poor families to the richest people in America,’ Obama wrote.
‘Ultimately, this is about basic decency,’ the former president wrote on Tuesday. ‘This is about whether we are a people who kick hopeful young strivers out of America, or whether we treat them the way we’d want our own kids to be treated. It’s about who we are as a people – and who we want to be.’
The essay doesn’t mention Trump by name, and doesn’t mention Trump’s controversial border wall.
Obama also revisited the events that led him to issue the controversial order. He issued the sweeping directive after a congressional immigration reform effort collapsed. Trump and Sessions branded it as unconstitutional overreach.
UNFRIEND ME: Former President Barack Obama lashed out at President Trump’s decision to undo his executive action creating the DACA program
‘Over the years, politicians of both parties have worked together to write legislation that would have told these young people – our young people – that if your parents brought you here as a child, if you’ve been here a certain number of years, and if you’re willing to go to college or serve in our military, then you’ll get a chance to stay and earn your citizenship,’ Obama wrote.
‘And for years while I was President, I asked Congress to send me such a bill.’
‘That bill never came,’ he continued, before laying out the reasons he decided to act on his own, absent legislation, in a move he characterized at the time as a choice in prosecutorial discretion.
YOU NEVER CALL: President Barack Obama made his views on Trump’s DACA decision known in a Facebook posting
‘And because it made no sense to expel talented, driven, patriotic young people from the only country they know solely because of the actions of their parents, my administration acted to lift the shadow of deportation from these young people, so that they could continue to contribute to our communities and our country.’
President Donald Trump signaled his intent this morning to end a program that allows illegal immigrants who arrived as children to live and work in the US without fear of deportation
‘We did so based on the well-established legal principle of prosecutorial discretion, deployed by Democratic and Republican presidents alike, because our immigration enforcement agencies have limited resources, and it makes sense to focus those resources on those who come illegally to this country to do us harm,’ Obama wrote.
‘Deportations of criminals went up. Some 800,000 young people stepped forward, met rigorous requirements, and went through background checks. And America grew stronger as a result.’
Obama acknowledged ‘legitimate disagreements’ about fixing immigration.
‘But that’s not what the action that the White House took today is about. This is about young people who grew up in America – kids who study in our schools, young adults who are starting careers, patriots who pledge allegiance to our flag. These Dreamers are Americans in their hearts, in their minds, in every single way but one: on paper. They were brought to this country by their parents, sometimes even as infants. They may not know a country besides ours. They may not even know a language besides English. They often have no idea they’re undocumented until they apply for a job, or college, or a driver’s license.’
Attorney General Jeff Sessions says the Trump administration will ‘wind down’ an Obama-era program that allows illegal immigrants who arrived as children to live and work in the US without fear of deportation
Activists asked Trump not to end DACA during a protest Monday outside the White House
Obama said a ‘shadow has been cast’ over ‘some of our best and brightest young people once again.’
Then he went after Trump’s motives. ‘Let’s be clear: the action taken today isn’t required legally. It’s a political decision, and a moral question. Whatever concerns or complaints Americans may have about immigration in general, we shouldn’t threaten the future of this group of young people who are here through no fault of their own, who pose no threat, who are not taking away anything from the rest of us.’
‘They are that pitcher on our kid’s softball team, that first responder who helps out his community after a disaster, that cadet in ROTC who wants nothing more than to wear the uniform of the country that gave him a chance. Kicking them out won’t lower the unemployment rate, or lighten anyone’s taxes, or raise anybody’s wages.’
Following Trump’s urging that Congress take action – he is putting in place a six-month period to ‘wind down’ the program – Obama also turned to lawmakers.
People are arrested during protest at Trump Tower after US President Donald J. Trump announced the plan to rescind the DACA program in New York, New York, USA, 05 September 2017. President Donald Trump has decided to end the Obama-era program that grants work permits to undocumented immigrants who arrived in the country as children
‘And now that the White House has shifted its responsibility for these young people to Congress, it’s up to Members of Congress to protect these young people and our future. I’m heartened by those who’ve suggested that they should. And I join my voice with the majority of Americans who hope they step up and do it with a sense of moral urgency that matches the urgency these young people feel,’ Obama wrote.
He concluded: ‘What makes us American is not a question of what we look like, or where our names come from, or the way we pray. What makes us American is our fidelity to a set of ideals – that all of us are created equal; that all of us deserve the chance to make of our lives what we will; that all of us share an obligation to stand up, speak out, and secure our most cherished values for the next generation. That’s how America has traveled this far. That’s how, if we keep at it, we will ultimately reach that more perfect union.’