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Advocates and officials respond to DACA announcement
by Matt Simonette
2017-09-10

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LGBT-rights advocates and others responded to the Sept. 5 announcement by Donald Trump—by way of Attorney General Jeff Sessions—that the government would be phasing out the Deferred Action for Childhood program, after giving Congress six months to codify the move.

The LGBT Latinx organization Association for Latinos/as Motivating Action ( ALMA ) said in a Sept. 5 statement that Trump's announcement "is unfortunately not a surprise," but that the organization will stand alongside those adversely affected by the decision.

"We will never turn our backs on our young people," said the statement "In fact, the Administration may have activated many undocumented young people and their allies to mobilize. Years ago, Chicago's LGBTQ undocumented young people said it loud and clear: no more closets, and no more shadows. Speech after speech, young undocumented immigrants, many of them LGBTQ, publicly came out as both undocumented and LGBTQ. Our young LGBTQ undocumented, undocuqueer, activists have been leading the movement and they will continue to lead. ALMA joins the thousands of people condemning the Administration's decision."

"Not only is the rescission of DACA unconscionable and cruel, it is simply bad public policy," said Sylvia Puente, executive director of the Latino Policy Forum, said in a statement. "After months of seesawing between explicitly threatening the programs demise as a presidential candidate and recently making vague promises to treat DACA recipients with 'heart,' the President has once again capitulated to the openly xenophobic wing of his base of support."

Lambda Legal CEO Rachel Tiven said, "Taking DACA away will push generations of talent and promise into the shadows and destroy families and communities by turning good and hardworking people into criminals overnight to be hunted, incarcerated and deported. "Ripping human beings away from their families and the only home they know to drop them in countries that are a faint memory, at best, is barbaric."

Equality Illinois called on state officials to oppose the federal action. CEO Brian Johnson said Sept. 5, "Equality Illinois stands with the Dreamers. Immigrants are part of the fabric of America. Here we believe in tolerance, inclusion, liberty, and fairness. President Trump's policy today is an absolute betrayal of American values."

Illinois Lieutenant Governor Evelyn Sanguinetti, a Republican, gave a measured response to the news, though she said immigration was a "personal" issue since her parents were both refugees.

"Republicans and Democrats across the country agree that our current immigration system is broken," Sanguinetti said Sept. 6. "The current system divides our communities, incentivizes illegal entry, strains law enforcement, and stymies our economy with uncertainty. Today's DACA repeal sets a 6-month clock for reform. Congress should take this opportunity to fix our broken immigration system, and in turn address DACA, border security, and a path to citizenship."

Cook County Commissioner Jesus "Chuy" Garcia maintained Sept. 5 that Trump had chosen to "stoke fear and hate."

Garcia said, "As an immigrant myself, I share the anger and outrage that many DACA recipients and their families are feeling today. I have personally met hundreds of young people that were brought here as young children. I have seen them as they worked hard and succeeded, gotten married and had children, and contributed to our city and our nation in thousands of ways. By ending DACA, President Trump has callously chosen to pander to the ugliest impulses in this country."

U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, who introduced the Dream Act, said Sept. 5, "Donald Trump once assured me that, "We are going to take care of those kids." Instead, his Administration has now made a decision that puts 800,000 young people at risk of deportation. It is a waste of talent and a miscarriage of justice."

Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan, on Sept. 5, joined with 15 other Attorneys General in a lawsuit to protect DACA grantees.

"To deport DREAMers to countries foreign to them is fundamentally unfair, hurts our state economy and violates the law," Madigan said in a statement. "These are Americans in every way but their birthright. For centuries, our country has benefitted from immigrants who came here and worked hard for a better life. Rescinding DACA is contrary to what makes our country prosper."


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