Trump's DACA Decision: South Jersey Lawmakers Respond

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CHERRY HILL, N.J. -

Following Tuesday morning’s announcement that President Donald Trump and his administration have decided to put an end to the Obama-era immigration protection order for “dreamers” — known as DACA, or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals — after a six-month delay, two South Jersey lawmakers were quick to respond. 

In Cherry Hill, the office of Democrat U.S. Congressman Donald Norcross (NJ-1st District) issued the following statement around 11:20 a.m. on Tuesday:
 
“Since 2012, DACA has provided security for 800,000 young men and women who were brought to America as children. Without the program, New Jersey stands to lose nearly $1.6 billion per year.
 
“DACA improves the lives of young people who know no other country than America and it helps grow the American economy.
 
“The Administration’s heartless decision could force hundreds of thousands of young people out of the workforce, upend the lives of families and create disruptions for businesses across the country. Any of these effects individually would make the decision ill-advised – together they are unconscionable.
 
“We need comprehensive immigration reform – like the plan that passed the Senate in 2015 – that provides a pathway to citizenship and enhances our security. I stand ready to work with my colleagues on the other side of the aisle on this, but until it happens, I strongly urge the President to reconsider.
 
“This decision goes against American values and undermines the fact that America is a nation of immigrants.”

About 40 minutes later, the office of Republican U.S. Congressman Frank LoBiondo (NJ-2nd District) in Washington D.C., released the following statement:
 
“It was clear from the beginning that President Obama’s DACA program was a violation of executive authority. As designed by our Founders, laws must be created by Congress. President Trump is right to call out Congress for failing to address critical immigration issues for many years. As I have previously stated, young people who came to our nation through no fault of their own should not be punished for the illegal actions of adults. I will again support and vote for legislation that ensures a permanent solution for ‘Dreamers’ so they may continue to live and work in our great country that many of them have only known.”  

Less than an hour after LoBiondo's statement was released, the office of U.S. Senator Cory Booker (NJ) released the Democrat's statement, including "This decision means that hundreds of thousands of Dreamers who were brought to this country as kids will be at risk of deportation."
 
“Today’s decision is a moral catastrophe that should shake us all to the core. The President of the United States has decided to tear apart hundreds of thousands of families and target hardworking young people who were brought to this country by their parents. In addition, President Trump is violating the trust that Dreamers placed in the U.S. government when they came forward to comply with the law and apply for DACA.
 
“Dreamers are productive members of society who contribute positively to our communities and boost our economy. Shutting the door of American opportunity and sending them back to countries they barely know is cruel, unjust, and flies in the face of what our country stands for.
 
“Congress can and should circumvent this misguided decision by passing legislation that will protect the hundreds of thousands of Dreamers who are now facing deportation. Congress must also act to finally fix our broken immigration system and pass comprehensive immigration reform that offers a pathway to citizenship for millions of Americans living in the shadows, keeps families together, and lives up to our highest ideals and values.”

The DACA program protects younger undocumented immigrants to live in the United States without fear of deportation. Calling the program "unconstitutional" because former president Barack Obama instituted the program by way of executive order rather than through Congress, some DACA critics argue that Congress should now take on the controversial issue.

Trump's announcement Tuesday offers a slight delay to the end of DACA, giving Congress six months to address an issue that directly affects nearly a million people who have grown up and currently reside in America.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the decision at the Justice Department Tuesday morning, stating that former president Barack Obama, who started the program in 2012, “sought to achieve specifically what the legislative branch refused to do.”

Meanwhile, some GOP lawmakers, such as Speaker of the House Paul Ryan cautioned Trump not to end the DACA program, while agreeing that it something that Congress should "fix." 

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