SAALT Condemns President Trump’s Decision to Terminate DACA

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT), a national civil rights and racial justice organization, condemns President Trump’s decision to terminate the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, the latest in a litany of this administration’s anti-immigrant policies.  This morning Attorney General Sessions announced the destructive change, citing DACA’s executive overreach as the main source of critique, reflecting this administration’s amnesia and its unconstitutional actions to date, not the least of which include the “Muslim Ban.”

“America’s values are founded on the ideal that all people are created equal and deserve justice. The President’s decision to terminate DACA puts 800,000 individuals at risk of deportation from the only country they’ve ever called home. Ending DACA is the latest evidence of this administration’s utter lack of commitment to our nation’s founding values of equality and fairness,” stated Suman Raghunathan, Executive Director of SAALT.  “Our current patchwork of immigration policies and programs is broken, and we demand Congress does its job to craft a commonsense immigration process that creates a roadmap to citizenship for aspiring new Americans. This is the only way to align our immigration laws with the values Americans hold dear.”

The Trump administration will phase out DACA after a six-month delay, punting responsibility to Congress to craft legislation to protect Dreamers. Passing the DREAM Act 2017 is an important first step, but what the nation needs is comprehensive immigration reform.

Over 27,000 Asian Americans, including 5,500 Indians and Pakistanis, have already received DACA. An additional estimated 17,000 individuals from India and 6,000 Pakistan respectively are eligible for DACA, placing India in the top ten countries for DACA eligibility.  With the termination of DACA, these individuals could face deportation at the discretion of the administration.

The CEOs of Apple, Google and Facebook and many other business leaders have all staunchly supported DACA and opposed its termination, citing their need for talented workers in a direct rebuttal to claims that DACA has hurt the American economy.

When asked about DACA in February the President stated, “We are going to deal with DACA with heart.”  Yet today the Attorney General called the termination of DACA a compassionate decision, revealing how tone deaf and inconsistent this administration is to its past statements and American values. The administration has announced several permutations of the “Muslim Ban”; continually called for the construction of a wall on the southern border of the United States; has rolled back Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA); supported the RAISE Act that seeks to slash immigration in half within a decade; and encouraged, endorsed, and emboldened bigotry, white supremacy, and hatred toward immigrants, Muslims, and people of color across the nation. That is not the type of ‘heart’ this nation needs.

Since its inception, this administration has demonstrated a crucial lack of heart, compassion, values, and respect for the law when it comes to DACA and immigration.  It is time for Congress to step up and pass comprehensive immigration reform, and for all elected and appointed officials to defend our communities through words and actions.  We are here to stay, we have the same rights to America as anyone else, and we are not going away.

Contact:  Vivek Trivedi – vivek@saalt.org