Vermont leaders respond to president's DACA decision

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Vermont leaders respond to president's DACA decision

Tue, 09/05/2017 - 4:29pm -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine President Trump on Tuesday ended DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) -- a program that had protected from deportation nearly 800,000 young undocumented immigrants brought to the US as children. Attorney General Jeff Sessions made the announcement. The president blames President Obama for initiating DACA via executive order and if Congress sees fit, it can now pass a bill to extend the program.

Governor Phil Scott today issued the following statement: "It's unfortunate the President has chosen to end the Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which now leaves it in the hands of Congress for legislative action. The young people who will be affected have known no other home than the US, and DACA has given many of them important academic opportunities that further their ability to contribute to our communities, and our nation. 

“Immigrants have historically had a very positive impact in our country, and in Vermont, and their contributions continue today.  

“It is my hope Congress will take action and continue this policy, which I believe provides long term benefits to American culture, the economy and the prosperity of our country."

Comment Of Senator Patrick Leahy: “After promising to show DACA recipients ‘great heart,’ the President has revealed he is as heartless as he is uninformed. We live in an unprecedented time when our President seeks to divide us, not to unite us. He rallies his dwindling supporters by exploiting fear and resentment, marginalizing those who are vulnerable and even those who risk their lives for our country and communities. It is shameful and far beneath the office he holds.

"Today President Trump is targeting yet another exemplary group of individuals who enrich the fabric of our society, our nation’s DREAMers.  They are our friends and our neighbors.  They serve our country in our armed forces and first responders, they contribute to our schools and universities, and they work and serve in our communities. DREAMers, by definition, came to the United States at no fault of their own as children.  They have since played by our country’s rules and seek only the chance to contribute to America – their home, and often the only country they remember. When President Trump threatens to unravel the DACA program, he threatens not only thousands of DREAMers; he threatens the American dream itself.  His action, with the complicity of Attorney General Sessions, is petty and malicious and harmful in so many ways.

"Republicans control both the Senate and the House. Some have already spoken out against the President's decision to abandon DACA.  But their words ring hollow if they are not ready to act upon them.  Democrats stand ready to protect DACA recipients and to fix our broken immigration system.  In 2013 I steered comprehensive immigration reform through the Judiciary Committee and the Senate with a strong bipartisan vote.  It is long past time for the Senate Majority Leader and the Speaker of the House to demonstrate the courage and leadership that the President so clearly lacks."

[Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) is Vice Chairman of the Appropriations Committee and a leading member of the Judiciary Committee.  In 2013, as Judiciary Chairman, Leahy steered the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Bill through the committee and through the Senate, on bipartisan votes.  House Republican Leaders refused to allow a vote in the House of Representatives.]

State Colleges System Chancellor Jeb Spaulding statement: “The Vermont State Colleges System joins colleges and universities around the country in support of the fundamentals of the Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals program. It has opened doors of opportunity for hundreds of thousands of young people and made our country stronger.  We stand firmly with the Dreamers, many of whom are pursuing their college degrees so they can build a bright future for themselves, their families, and their communities. We implore the President and Congress to reach agreement so that those who are DACA-eligible will be able to remain and participate fully in our communities and on our college campuses. The diversity that immigrants and foreign students bring to our colleges strengthens the learning experience for all our students and will be good for our country’s future.”

Vermont Attorney General Donovan said: "DREAMers are productive members of our society and for many, this is the only country they have ever known. Under the DACA program, they were promised they could stay in this country to work, study and be productive members of their communities. Our country has an obligation to honor this promise. By giving DREAMers a chance to live legally in the country they call home, we fulfill the promise of America - the opportunity for a better life for all that come to this country.

"The Attorney General’s office is reviewing the decision and its impact on Vermont. I call on members of Congress to protect the DREAMers in our state and across the country."

DACA Guidelines from USCIS

On June 15, 2012, the Secretary of Homeland Security announced that certain people who came to the United States as children and meet several guidelines may request consideration of deferred action for a period of two years, subject to renewal. They are also eligible for work authorization. Deferred action is a use of prosecutorial discretion to defer removal action against an individual for a certain period of time. Deferred action does not provide lawful status.

DACA if you:

  1. Were under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012;
  2. Came to the United States before reaching your 16th birthday;
  3. Have continuously resided in the United States since June 15, 2007, up to the present time;
  4. Were physically present in the United States on June 15, 2012, and at the time of making your request for consideration of deferred action with USCIS;
  5. Had no lawful status on June 15, 2012;
  6. Are currently in school, have graduated or obtained a certificate of completion from high school, have obtained a general education development (GED) certificate, or are an honorably discharged veteran of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States; and
  7. Have not been convicted of a felony, significant misdemeanor, or three or more other misdemeanors, and do not otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety.