As was already reported he would do, President Trump made official Tuesday his decision to end DACA, or the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, a.k.a. the "Dreamers" initiative begun under President Obama.
"Before we ask what is fair to illegal immigrants, we must also ask what is fair to American families, students, taxpayers, and jobseekers," Trump said in a statement, per the New York Times, referring to DACA as an "amnesty first" program and saying he hopes Congress will enact a more fair replacement for it before it begins phasing out in March of next year.
Bay Area politicians, local immigration activists, and local recipients of amnesty under the program have been expressing their anger and fears over the move ever since Trump announced his intentions last week.
Beneficiaries of the program need to be undocumented immigrants who arrived in the US as children, have no serious criminal convictions, and be either enrolled in school here or finished with high school. Under DACA they are protected from deportation, and this this program, enacted unilaterally via executive order under Obama, has been a target of immigration activists despite the political fallout that could follow if Republicans are seen as targeting children for deportation.
NBC Bay Area spoke with one Dreamer, San Jose resident Cecilia Chavez, saying she had hoped that President Trump would recognize "all that the 750,000 of us Dreamers contribute to this country." Chavez, who now has a Master's degree from San Jose State, spoke to ABC 7 as well saying, "I just feel like my life is crumbling. So many people depend on me. My parents depend on me, depend on my income. My children depend on me. For him to terminate DACA, he has no idea what he's doing."
President Obama began DACA by executive order after failing to get a Republican-led Congress to enact similar legislation. House Speaker Paul Ryan had reportedly urged the President to hold off on taking action until Congress could put together a complete plan to replace it and as Politico noted Sunday when they first reported on the repeal, the six-month delay in carrying it out, until March 5, 2018, was Trump's concession to lawmakers, giving them a deadline by which to enact some form of immigration reform with regard to children.
Bay Area politicians and business leaders have been quick to condemn the President's decision, including Senator Kamala Harris, SF Mayor Ed Lee, Lieutenant Governor and former SF Mayor Gavin Newsom, Senator Dianne Feinstein, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Google CEO Sundar Pichai, and Apple CEO Tim Cook, who noted that 250 of his employees are Dreamers.
There is nothing crueler than deporting kids who grew up in America back to a country they don’t even know. #DefendDACA— Kamala Harris (@KamalaHarris) September 2, 2017
My message to Dreamers: We see you. We stand with you. We will fight to ensure you can stay in the country you call home.— Kamala Harris (@KamalaHarris) September 5, 2017
It is heartless of the administration to ask #DREAMers to come out of the shadows & now to punish them for pursuing their American dream.— Mayor Ed Lee (@mayoredlee) September 5, 2017
In CA, we know that our diversity makes us stronger. DACA has allowed 223,000 young people to come forward & contribute to our communities.— Gavin Newsom (@GavinNewsom) September 5, 2017
250 of my Apple coworkers are #Dreamers. I stand with them. They deserve our respect as equals and a solution rooted in American values.— Tim Cook (@tim_cook) September 3, 2017
SF Public Defender Jeff Adachi tells ABC 7 that his office is preparing to assign lawyers to defend local Dreamers against deportation.
San Francisco Supervisor Sandra Lee Fewer issued a statement Tuesday saying, "While I still hope for comprehensive immigration reform that provides a pathway to citizenship, the DACA program is a critical step for young people who arrived as children in the United States, to come out of the shadows and participate fully in economic and educational opportunities... As a country we should be expanding programs like this rather than threatening to shut them down. And as a city, we need to come together and strongly denounce these attacks on our immigrant communities."
A protest is planned at Sproul Plaza at UC Berkeley Tuesday at 5 p.m., organized by the Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action, Integration and Immigrant Rights, and Fight for Equality By Any Means Necessary, a.k.a. BAMN. There was already a rally at UC Berkeley on Monday ahead of the official announcement.
As the AP is reporting, protests are taking shape nationwide today. A San Francisco protest is planned for 5 p.m. today as well, as the Chronicle reports, outside the Federal Building at Mission and Seventh Street.