US President Donald Trump has scrapped an Obama-era amnesty program that granted work permits to immigrants who arrived in the US illegally as children. This move is likely to have a severe impact on 800,000 workers, which includes about 7,000 Indian-Americans.
The announcement, made by US attorney-general Jeff Sessions on behalf of the White House, was greeted with protests, across the nation. Protesters gathered before the White House to demonstrate against Trump.
When making the announcement, Jeff Sessions told the media:
The Department of Justice has advised the President and the Department of Homeland Security that DHS should begin an orderly, lawful wind down, including the cancellation of the memo that authorized this program.
Defending the move, Sessions said that a lawful channel of immigration requires certain rules and regulations – one cannot just let anyone enter the country as per personal wish:
That is an open border policy and the American people have rightly rejected it. Therefore, the nation must set and enforce a limit on how many immigrants we admit each year and that means all cannot be accepted.
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This does not mean they are bad people or that our nation disrespects or demeans them in any way. It means we are properly enforcing our laws as Congress has passed them.
He clarified that collective wisdom is that the policy is vulnerable to the same legal and constitutional challenges that the courts recognized with respect to the DAPA program, which was enjoined on a nationwide basis in a decision affirmed by the Fifth Circuit.
It is to be noted that India ranks 11th among countries of origin for DACA students, according to the US Citizenship and Immigration Services statistics available till March 31, 2017.
Differing with the US President’s policy, Director of immigration policy and campaigns at the American Civil Liberties Union Lorella Praeli slammed Trump’s decision with:
Today is a cruel day for Dreamers, our families, and all Americans. President Trump’s decision to end DACA is a manufactured crisis in response to an artificial deadline from anti-immigrant leaders.
President Trump just threw the lives and futures of 800,000 Dreamers and their families, including my own, into fearful disarray, and injected chaos and uncertainty into thousands of workplaces and communities across America. He is using the lives of 800,000 people as pawn.
Los Angels Mayor Eric Garcetti, too, held that the decision was a “giant setback” for America:
President Trump’s action on DACA is cruel – it threatens to tear families apart, puts our economy at risk, and will do nothing to unify America or make us more secure.