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.
The former president praised so-called “Dreamers” in his decision.
“They are that pitcher on our kid’s softball team, that first responder who helps out his community after a disaster, that cadet in ROTC who wants nothing more than to wear the uniform of the country that gave him a chance. Kicking them out won’t lower the unemployment rate, or lighten anyone’s taxes, or raise anybody’s wages,” he said.
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.
The Trump administration announced Tuesday that it would end the DACA program with a six-month delay.
According to Department of Homeland Security officials, people with permits whose renewals are set to expire between now and March 5, 2018, will be able to re-apply — so long as their applications are submitted by Oct. 5, 2017, one month from Tuesday. No permits will be revoked before their existing expiration dates, and applications already in the pipeline will be processed, they said.
Trump, in a statement, said the change would be ‘‘a gradual process, not a sudden phase out.’’