“We stand ready to fight and protect families that will suffer the repercussions of this heartless policy decision."
Asian American and Pacific Islander activist groups have slammed the Trump administration for its decision to terminate DACA.
Implemented in 2012 by President Barack Obama, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program allowed specific illegal immigrants who had entered the United States as minors to stay in the country. Those under the program would receive a renewable 2 year period of deferred action from deportation and eligibility for a work permit.
CNN reports that the program protected nearly 800,000 young undocumented immigrants who had entered the US as children from deportation.
As of Tuesday, the Department of Homeland Security will no longer process any new applications for the program. DACA recipients whose permits expire before 5 March 2018 have the opportunity for a two-year renewal if they apply by Oct. 5
Rep. Judy Chu is amongst many Asian Americans who condemn the government’s decision. “The Trump Administration’s decision to rescind DACA is a cruel and devastating blow to the nearly 800,000 young Americans currently enrolled in the program,” she said in a statement. “This indefensible action is an open attack on America’s immigrant communities and undermines our core values as a nation.”
NBC News reports that DACA had helped to remove the threat of deportation for undocumented Asian children. 10% of the population eligible for DACA were Asian. Four of the top 25 countries whose immigrants DACA had help were in Asia — South Korea, the Philippines, India, and Pakistan.
“DACA is a legal, successful, common sense policy that has transformed the lives of the nearly 800,000 young immigrants,” John C. Yang, president and executive director of Asian Americans Advancing Justice said in a statement.
“We stand together with DACA recipients, including more than 16,000 Asian Americans, many of whom have pursued higher education, financially provided for themselves and their families, and contributed to the growth of the economy and the strength of America – all because the DACA program afforded them a chance,” Yang said.
Quyen Dinh, executive director of the Southeast Asia Resource Action Center and NCAPA chair said the organisation was willing to fight for those who will suffer under the decision.
“We stand ready to fight and protect families that will suffer the repercussions of this heartless policy decision.”
“We call on congressional leaders to defend the rights of all immigrants and refugees by enacting long-term, humane legislation that protects the vulnerable and keeps families together.”
The Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF) said the U.S. will face “enormous human and economic costs” without DACA.
“Despite President Trump’s promise to treat DACA recipients with ‘great heart,’ his administration has decided to pursue a heartless and blatant attack on the young immigrants and their families who contribute to and strengthen our country every day,” AALDEF executive director Margaret Fung said in a statement.
Cliff Li, executive director of the National Committee of Asian American Republicans, told NBC News, “In terms of our own organization…we understand and agree with the decision [and] think it’s necessary.”
“It’s not something happy to see…but it’s necessary, and [we] hope the liberal side and also the conservative side can sit down together to cure the [illegal immigration and border security] problem at the root.”
— AJ+ (@ajplus) September 6, 2017
— ahmed (@whoisbile) September 6, 2017
— Asian Law Caucus (@aaaj_alc) September 6, 2017
— Norman Yee (@NormanYeeSF) September 5, 2017