This morning, Jeff Sessions made the announcement that Trump had decided to officially rescind DACA, the Obama-era policy created to protect undocumented immigrants who arrived in the U.S. as children.
This decision has the potential to affect 800,000 young adults, many who go to school, have jobs, and have started families in the U.S. Many fear it may lead to mass deportations of people who have only ever known the U.S. as home.
Though Obama vowed to stay away from politics during his first year out of office, he decided to speak out about Trump’s decision and why he disagrees with what the government has decided to do.
In the Facebook post, he expressed his concerns for young undocumented immigrants who already had a stable life in the U.S.:
But that’s not what the action that the White House took today is about. This is about young people who grew up in America – kids who study in our schools, young adults who are starting careers, patriots who pledge allegiance to our flag. These Dreamers are Americans in their hearts, in their minds, in every single way but one: on paper. They were brought to this country by their parents, sometimes even as infants. They may not know a country besides ours. They may not even know a language besides English. They often have no idea they’re undocumented until they apply for a job, or college, or a driver’s license.
Obama also expressed compassion for those protected by DACA and questioned Trump’s moral decision to end it
But today, that shadow has been cast over some of our best and brightest young people once again. To target these young people is wrong – because they have done nothing wrong. It is self-defeating – because they want to start new businesses, staff our labs, serve in our military, and otherwise contribute to the country we love. And it is cruel. What if our kid’s science teacher, or our friendly neighbor turns out to be a Dreamer? Where are we supposed to send her? To a country she doesn’t know or remember, with a language she may not even speak?
Let’s be clear: the action taken today isn’t required legally. It’s a political decision, and a moral question. Whatever concerns or complaints Americans may have about immigration in general, we shouldn’t threaten the future of this group of young people who are here through no fault of their own, who pose no threat, who are not taking away anything from the rest of us. They are that pitcher on our kid’s softball team, that first responder who helps out his community after a disaster, that cadet in ROTC who wants nothing more than to wear the uniform of the country that gave him a chance. Kicking them out won’t lower the unemployment rate, or lighten anyone’s taxes, or raise anybody’s wages.
Obama’s response was what we needed most in a time when our own president seems dead set on threatening the safety and basic human rights of people he deemed unworthy. Perhaps that’s why Obama was so loved among Americans — he truly looked out for the people. And he — and I — hope that Congress will continue to do so, even though he’s not in office anymore.
After all, Obama said it best: “Ultimately, this is about basic decency. This is about whether we are a people who kick hopeful young strivers out of America, or whether we treat them the way we’d want our own kids to be treated. It’s about who we are as a people – and who we want to be.”