Barack Obama Accuses President Trump of ‘Targeting Hopeful Young Strivers,’ Calls on Congress to Protect Dreamers
Former President Barack Obama has added his voice to the chorus of Americans protesting President Trump‘s decision to rescind DACA — the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy that offers work permits to people who were brought to the United States illegally as young children.
Just hours after Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the planned end of the program, Obama took to social media to release a powerful statement slamming the move as “contrary to our spirit” and calling on Congress to protect the nearly 800,000 so-called Dreamers who have been temporarily excluded from deportation under DACA.
“To target hopeful young strivers who grew up here is wrong, because they’ve done nothing wrong,” Obama tweeted to introduce his lengthy statement.
Obama, who used executive actions to launch DACA in June 2012, defended his decision to help keep “talented, driven, patriotic young people” in the only country some of them have ever known so that they could “continue to contribute to our communities and our country.”
Some 800,000 young people stepped forward, met rigorous requirements, and went through background checks. And America grew stronger as a result,” he wrote.
Tuesday’s decision, Obama said, was a political one that has cast a “shadow over some of our best and brightest young people once again.”
“To target these young people is wrong – because they have done nothing wrong. 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.”
“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,” he continued. “It is precisely because this action is contrary to our spirit, and to common sense, that business leaders, faith leaders, economists, and Americans of all political stripes called on the administration not to do what it did today.
The former president also urged Congress to protect Dreamers from mass deportation after Trump’s decision gave lawmakers six months to act before DACA is officially dismantled.
“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,” he wrote. ‘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.”
“Ultimately, this is about basic decency,” he continued. “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.”