Since U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the Trump administration’s decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, also known as DACA, it has been met with criticism, protests and pending legal action. The program gives legal protections to children who grew up in the United States, but were brought to the country illegally by their parents.
The removal of the Obama-era program is estimated to affect 800,000 people nationwide. This decision would also affect 3,524 Missourians who currently have DACA status, according to the American Civil Liberties Union of Missouri.
In a statement, ACLU of Missouri Executive Director Jeffrey Mittman said the government isn’t keeping its end of the deal it made to “hundreds of thousands of young people [who] came out of the shadows.”
“Today, the government and President Trump went back on their word, threw the lives and futures of 800,000 Dreamers and their families into disarray, and injected chaos and uncertainty into thousands of workplaces and communities across America,” Mittman said.
Many of these people Mittman said are invaluable assets to the nation’s economy as well as within their communities as students, doctors and soldiers.
Southeast Missouri State University President Dr. Carlos Vargas also released a statement Wednesday noting the decision to end the DACA program is “concerning.” Vargas said Missouri is the only home many DACA status students have come to know.
“They speak English as their primary language; many have graduated from our primary and secondary schools and have the potential to become future business professionals, scientists, health care providers, entrepreneurs and leaders in our state,” Vargas said. “At Southeast “we are one” --a place where everyone is welcome, appreciated and respected.”
Vargas stated that he is prepared to work with Missouri and federal elected officials to support those students who are seeking opportunities in higher education.
Meanwhile, Mittman said although this decision is taking a step backwards they will continue to fight.
“Years of courage, sacrifices, and organizing won the DACA program in 2012,” Mittman said. “Nothing will deter these Americans and our allies in Missouri and across the country from continuing to fight on behold of their futures and holding those responsible accountable.”
As of now, Congress has six months to come up with alternative solution to the DACA program.
Read Southeast Missouri State University President Dr. Carlos Vargas full statement below:
For over 140 years, Southeast Missouri State University has served students from all demographics, nationalities and geographic areas. Each of these students greatly enhances and riches the academic and cultural conversations at our University. The actions announced this week at the federal level regarding DACA students is concerning. The ability of these students to pursue their degree carries great significance for them and their families. For many DACA students in our state, Missouri is the only home they know. They speak English as their primary language; many have graduated from our primary and secondary schools and have the potential to become future business professionals, scientists, health care providers, entrepreneurs and leaders in our state. At Southeast “we are one” – a place where everyone is welcome, appreciated and respected. I stand ready to work alongside our elected officials at both the federal and state levels in support of all of our students to ensure that all individuals that desire to pursue higher education have the means and ability to do so.