National Bar Association Denounces DACA Reversal; Calls on Congress to Fill Trump’s Intellectual and Ethical Void
“When the authors of the United States Constitution sought to outline a vision, and lay the foundation for our democracy, children were not excluded from the pursuit of life, liberty, and happiness. We cannot turn our backs on innocent children to aid in fulfilling a campaign promise, nor can we permit the misaligned values and self-serving agendas of this Administration to undermine the character and integrity of our nation." -- NBA President Juan R. Thomas
“Attorney General Sessions presented a cunning political appeal to an anti-immigrant agenda, and provided yet another salute to white supremacists, and the white nationalist movement. His legal argument was calculated to deflect from the fact that DACA has withstood all prior legal arguments, and falls squarely under prosecutorial discretion,” said National Bar Association (NBA) President Juan R. Thomas.
Had Trump not made the decision to rescind the program, as many as 1.3 million young people would have sought protection under this policy. Never intended to be an end-run to legal immigration, DACA not only provided an opportunity for young people to establish citizenship, but provided the U.S. economy with an additional 800,000 tax paying individuals. Despite Sessions’ arguments to the contrary, there is no evidence that these recipients are taking jobs from U.S. citizens, or that they are a stress on social security—they contribute far more in revenue than they take.
“Since the introduction of this Obama-era policy, DACA has gained support from policymakers on both sides of the aisle. We appreciated the request from House Majority Speaker Ryan, who asked for time for Congress to find a legislative solution that did not re-victimize innocent children. Yet, during this time, no more applications will be accepted, and those children currently protected under the policy would see their work visas expire and face deportation short of any other protection or change in legal status.
“President Trump’s plan for implementation, which includes a six-month delay to phase-out DACA, simply enables him to avoid accountability for his callous actions by creating an unnecessary timeline for Congress, and given his propensity to waffle on public statements, does not provide a level of confidence that Congress will have even that small window of time to halt this cruel and inhumane action.
“When the authors of the United States Constitution sought to outline a vision, and lay the foundation for our democracy, children were not excluded from the pursuit of life, liberty and happiness. We cannot turn our backs on innocent children to aide in fulfilling a campaign promise, nor can we permit the misaligned values and self-serving agendas of this Administration to undermine the character and integrity of our nation. Passing this announcement over to Sessions demonstrates that this President lacks the courage of his own convictions, and is motivated solely by his desire for personal aggrandizement and political expedience.
“We can’t allow the amazing personal stories, hopes and dreams of these young people to get lost in Trump’s attempts to appease his political base. Nor can we allow ourselves to become pigeon-holed into thinking it’s not about us—only about other racial and ethnic groups. Benefactors of the DACA program are not only Hispanic, but immigrants from around the globe. And each and every one of these bright future citizens need the policies of DACA to shield them from the not so subtle and implicit bias of this President,” Thomas went on to say.
As with the majority of recent Executive Orders, the reversal of DACA comes with little guidance or directives on how it’s to be implemented, particularly as it relates to current DACA program participants and students with DREAMER status. The NBA will be working in close collaboration with a number of civil rights organizations that are leveraging their expertise to address these challenges, and educate individuals who might need additional assistance in navigating the new post-DACA terrain.
“We implore our Congressional leaders to exercise their authority, and put a stop to this manufactured political crisis designed to distract from the leadership debacle taking place in the White House. The time is now to act with purpose and integrity—not negotiate using DACA as a bargaining chip. Where the policy is unclear, the Constitution makes it clear that it is Congress and not the President who makes the final determination. At this seminal moment, we need for Congress to fill the intellectual and ethical void presented by this President,” Thomas concluded.