LGBT groups reacted swiftly and negatively to the Trump administration’s announcement today that it was ending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which has protected nearly 800,000 immigrants from deportation.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced this morning that DACA will end in six months unless Congress passes a law saving it. President Obama created the program through executive action five years ago, allowing undocumented immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children and meet certain other criteria to obtain permits to work legally here and be protected from deportation. The permits last two years and can be renewed.
Ending DACA is “cruel and cowardly,” said a statement released by Victory Institute president and CEO Aisha C. Moodie-Mills. “Appealing to his most xenophobic base, Trump is risking the lives of 800,000 young people, including more than 75,000 LGBTQ people who deserve to live and work free of fear,” she said. “It’s cruel and cowardly — and fits with a pattern of implementing racist, xenophobic and anti-LGBTQ policies that target core American values and move our country backward. Our community will be in the streets protesting this injustice, and our LGBTQ members of Congress are committed to fight for legislation that protects Dreamers and creates a humane immigration program. While this White House governs through fear and hate, we are committed to identifying and training LGBTQ leaders who will govern with optimism and fairness. We still dream with these young people.”
Kate Kendell, executive director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights, noted the same numbers and added, “The Trump administration rescinded not only this program but our country’s promise to protect these young people—many of whom have never known a life outside of the U.S. For the … DACA recipients who identify as LGBT, today’s announcement is even more chilling. In an announcement that lasted only minutes, this administration just turned the lives of tens of thousands of our community members upside down, putting their dreams, their futures, and potentially their safety at risk. We join with the millions of others who pledge to do all in our power to resist this brutally vicious and depraved directive and to stand with these young people.”
“President Trump’s assault on human rights and human decency continues with this cruel decision that should disturb every American,” said National Center for Transgender Equality executive director Mara Keisling. “Whether it’s transgender troops or young immigrant Americans, President Trump appears bent on singling out and harming people and families that he sees as different.”
“President Trump’s choice to dismantle DACA is an attack on about 800,000 DREAMers, their families, and their communities, and will expose them to racial targeting by [Immigration and Customs Enforcement] and deportation to a place that they have never called home in the first place,” said Sarah Kate Ellis, President and CEO of GLAAD. “Along with his Muslim ban and pardon of Joe Arpaio, this cruel act is a trifecta of President Trump’s full embrace to the violent, out-of-touch ideology of white supremacists. The LGBTQ community stands with fair-minded Americans in demanding that hardworking and patriotic DREAMers be allowed access to the American Dream.”
“This is yet another unnecessary, cruel attack from the Trump administration that will devastate millions of families and communities across the country, including many transgender people who have only ever known the U.S. as home,” said Kris Hayashi, executive director of the Transgender Law Center. “At a time when the U.S. is raiding homes, militarizing the border, holding transgender people in abusive detention conditions, and denying asylum for transgender women who fear murder and persecution should they be sent back, this reversal is another act of violence adding to a climate of fear for our communities.”
“This is yet another hateful decision by the Trump-Pence Administration,” said Alejandro Avilés, the Human Rights Campaign’s director of outreach and engagement. “A White House that has pardoned human rights violators like Joe Arpaio and espoused racism and white nationalism has now decided that hundreds of thousands of young people — many of whom have never known a home outside the U.S. — are no longer welcome here. Students, with bright futures ahead of them, ready to help make our country truly great, will be sent back to places they don’t remember, breaking families apart and setting our country back immeasurably.”
Protests against the administration’s action are taking place around the nation. Many business and political leaders have urged the continuation of DACA, including out Apple CEO Tim Cook.
This story is developing. Check back for updates.