WASHINGTON (AP) — Former President Barack Obama calls President Donald Trump’s decision to phase out the so-called DACA program “cruel” and “self-defeating.”
The program has provided nearly 800,000 young immigrants a reprieve from deportation. The Trump administration announced Tuesday it’s rescinding the program and leaving it to Congress to come up with an alternative.
Obama did not mention Trump by name in his statement but says a “shadow has been cast” over some of the nation’s best and brightest young people. He says targeting them is wrong “because they have done nothing wrong.”
Obama says it’s up to members of Congress to act and he joins his voice with the majority of Americans who hopes Congress will step up.
White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders says President Donald Trump wants to see “responsible immigration reform” from Congress. She says it should also include controlling the U.S. border, improved vetting and enforcing immigration laws.
The administration is giving Congress six months to come up with a legislative fix before the government stops renewing permits for people covered by the program.
Mexico says it “deeply regrets” the Trump administration’s decision to phase out a program that shields young immigrants from deportation, and the Mexican government is urging U.S. lawmakers to pass a replacement.
The Foreign Relations department says in a statement that “it is undoubtedly the sole responsibility of U.S. citizens and their institutions to determine U.S. immigration policy … but in the current situation, the Mexican government has a moral imperative to act.”
The department said Tuesday that Mexico would provide legal defense services for any of its citizens affected by the decision. The department said of the young immigrants, dubbed “Dreamers,” that Mexico “will receive with open arms any dreamers who return.”