PHILADELPHIA, PA (WTXF) - Protests took place across the nation on Tuesday following Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ announcement regarding the administration’s plan to end DACA, or the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program put in place by former President Obama.
The program protects undocumented immigrants who came to the United States as children. Now, the Trump administration plans to halt new applications.
Pennsylvania’s Senator Bob Casey spoke out in response to the controversial decision, calling it “immoral” and insulting to the hundreds of thousands of young people it would impact.
“I think it's a betrayal of those young people. It's a betrayal also of our values, Senator Casey said. “So the only good news here is I think there's mounting bipartisan opposition to what the president is doing."
Meanwhile, Senator Pat Toomey released a statement saying:
“Children who were brought to the United States illegally, at a young age, are not at fault and deserve our support. However, President Obama did not have the legal authority to create the DACA program and to ignore enforcement of existing immigration law. President Trump's decision to end this program, while giving Congress six months to come up with a legislative solution, is the right step.”
Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro had more comforting words, releasing this statement:
“I am carefully reviewing the President’s DACA directive and am in communication with fellow Attorneys General and state leaders. I won’t hesitate to do my job and take legal action if the federal government breaks the law as it ends its commitment to these young people.
There are 5,889 “Dreamers” in Pennsylvania who contribute to our economy, our military and quality of life. They came here through no fault of their own as young children in the care of their parents. They relied on a commitment from the U.S. Government and should be able to depend on that promise—not live in fear.
I renew my call on Congress to finally pass comprehensive immigration reform and border security.”
Prudence Powell, who attended Philadelphia's own DACA protest, just landed a job with the Pennsylvania Immigration and Citizenship Council six months ago. She helps DACA applicants facing the same problem staring at her right now.
"A rock and a hard place, between a rock and a hard place,” she told FOX 29.
According to Powell, it was the promises of DACA that brought her out of hiding in the United States for more than 20 years. Sent from Jamaica to visit a relative in the '90's, she simply never left.
Now the mother of two children, who are U.S. citizens, Powell says there's no family here to care for them if she ends up deported.
If the worst happens, and Powell is deported?
“I'm not leaving,” she told FOX 29. “They have to come and get me out."