Wednesday, September 6, 2017

DACA: AAPI community fires back; Trump wavers

Hundreds of demonstrators joined the Korean Resource Center, which had been staging a 24/7 protest outside the White House in anticipation of Trump's DACA decision.

AFTER A DAY of withering criticism from Democrats and even from Republicans, civil rights groups, state leaders and the faith community, Donald Trump seemed to step back from the decision to revoke the DACA program. 

Late last night, he tweeted "Congress now has 6 months to legalize DACA (something the Obama Administration was unable to do)." But he says, "If they can't, I will revisit this issue!" 

The tweet may indicate Trump may be wavering: First he says he loves the Dreamers, then he wants to kick them out, then he says he'll think about again in six months. Or, it could simply reflect his indecision.
The reaction from AAPI leaders to the demise of the DACA program overwhelmingly condemned the decision announced by Attorney General Jeff Sessions Tuesday (Sept. 5).

Among the 800,000 DACA recipients affected by today’s action are many Asian immigrants. Between 2012 and 2017, over 16,000 young Asian immigrants received protection under DACA and, of the Asian immigrants who are undocumented, over 120,000 were eligible for DACA.

“The consequences of this decision will be devastating,” said California Sen. Kamala Harris. “It will split up families, force young people back to countries they never knew, and cost our economy billions of dollars. It is heartless.”

After our government had asked these young people to come forward and put their trust in the government, it is inhumane for our government to strip these young people of the protections DACA has provided. By phasing out DACA, this administration has failed to show moral leadership.

No new DACA applications will be processed after the announcement Tuesday, and the program will be terminated in March 2018.

“Across the nation, companies, schools and communities have greatly benefited from the talent, skill and unique perspective of the young people granted DACA status in America. The moral cost of repealing DACA is immeasurable," said Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash. "Economically, our country will lose $460.3 billion in GDP over the next decade from this repeal."

Some Republicans tried to link Trump's border wall with DACA, saying if the Democrats want to save the Dreamers, then they should compromise and fund the wall.

"I reject any effort to hold these young people hostage for an unnecessary waste of money like Donald Trump’s wall," said Sen. Mazie Hirono, D-Hi.

“DACA is clearly constitutional. But by rescinding the program, the President puts the onus on Congress to act. Congress must take appropriate action to provide permanent legal status to DREAMers.

"We will not be extorted by this danger and allow these Americans to be used as bargaining chips to further the President’s anti-immigrant goals, including the construction of an immoral and divisive border wall," said Rep. Judy Chu, D-Calif., and chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus.

“Trump's cowardly decision to end DACA goes against the very forces that have made America an exceptional country," said Rep. Ted Leiu, D-Calif. "

Deporting hundreds of thousands of Asians and Latinos—nearly half of whom were brought to the U.S. before the age of 7—is not only cruel, it will hurt our economy," he said. "One report estimates an economic loss of $460 billion over the next decade."

In a press release, the Asian American Advancing Justice, a coalition of five legal advocacy organnizations. stated: "The administration’s action flies in the face of real facts and data, which shows that the DACA program has been a lifeline for young DACAmented immigrants as well as a benefit to both local and national economies. Pushing these young people back underground will create economic turmoil for our nation. It also directly contradicts the desire of the majority of Americans, as 8 out 10 voters want a more permanent solution for these young immigrants.

“The administration’s agenda – which already so clearly drips of racism, hate, and xenophobia – not only challenges the fabric of a country that prides itself on diversity and opportunity, but also threatens the very existence of ours- and allied- communities," said 
Alvina Yeh, executive director of the Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance.

Outside the White House, Asian Americans led by the Korean Resource Center protested the DACA revocation proposed by Trump.

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