OKLAHOMA CITY – Oklahomans are reacting after the Trump administration formally announced the end of DACA — a program that had protected nearly 800,000 young undocumented immigrants brought to the US as children from deportation.
The Department of Homeland Security will stop processing any new applications for the program and has formally rescinded the Obama administration policy.
“I am here today to announce that the program known as DACA that was effectuated under the Obama administration is being rescinded,” Attorney General Jeff Sessions said Tuesday at a Justice Department news conference.
But the agency also announced a plan to continue renewing permits for anyone whose status expires in the next six months, giving Congress time to act before any currently protected individuals lose their ability to work, study and live in the US.
“Attorney General Jeff Sessions is correct that the White House is responsible for immigration enforcement and border security, not immigration policy. Making significant policy changes through Executive Action is the wrong approach. This type of immigration policy reform must come from the American people through legislation from Congress,” said Sen. James Lankford. “It is right for there to be consequences for those who intentionally entered this country illegally. However, we as Americans do not hold children legally accountable for the actions of their parent. In the coming months, Congress must address this issue.”
Oklahoma City Public Schools Superintendent Aurora Lora says that many DACA recipients are students in the district, while others work as staff members at various schools around the city.
“As the daughter of a Mexican immigrant who came to this country for the American dream, I stand with countless governors, mayors, state legislators, local elected officials, businesses, law enforcement professionals, school leaders and faith-based and civic leaders to support DACA recipients, recognizing their incredible contributions to our schools, workplaces and communities. Ending DACA protections will be a devastating blow to our many students and staff members who came to this country as children.
OKCPS remains committed to providing an environment where all students feel safe and have a positive educational experience. I want to send a clear message to OKCPS students, families and staff: You are valued. You are welcome. You are safe. I urge our federal leaders to come to a swift, bipartisan solution to provide a pathway for our Dreamers to continue to contribute to their classrooms and jobs in the only home many of them have known,” Lora said in a statement.
The CEO of The Foundation for Oklahoma City Public Schools says the decision does “not at all embody the Oklahoma Standard.”
“The student population of Oklahoma City Public Schools is 52 percent Hispanic. These students are not all DACA, but supporting every student is our goal at The Foundation. The news today is disheartening and does not at all embody the Oklahoma Standard. We must all reach out to our Congressional leaders to voice our concern about this decision. DACA has allowed great and talented individuals to be part of our classrooms, organizations and places of business. As a society, we should be valuing their contributions, not sending them away,” said Mary Melon.