An array of Bay Area elected officials and leaders denounced President Donald Trump’s decision Tuesday to end a program allowing young undocumented immigrants to remain in the United States.

At the same time, the officials called on Congress to revive the program by enacting it into law. Some also promised to participate in lawsuits to challenge the Trump administration’s action.

The program, known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, was established in 2012 through an executive order by President Barack Obama. It covers approximately 800,000 young people, sometimes known as Dreamers, who arrived in the U.S. as children.

California is home to about 223,000 of the Dreamers.

In an action announced by Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Trump rescinded Obama’s order, but allowed for what Sessions called an “orderly, lawful wind-down” of the program. He and Acting Department of Homeland Security Secretary Elaine Duke said Congress could enact a program through legislation if it wishes to do so.

U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris, D-California, called the president’s action “a cruel betrayal” of the young immigrants and said it undermines our nation’s values.

“The consequences of this decision will be devastating. It will split up families, force young people back to countries they never knew, and cost our economy billions of dollars. It is heartless,”

Harris urged members of Congress to “roll up our sleeves and stand with these young people” by enacting a bipartisan law to resume the program.

U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-California, said: “Congressional action is now the only way to guarantee that DACA recipients are shielded from deportation, and it must be our top priority.”

U.S. Rep. Anna Eshoo, D-Palo Alto, and Zoe Lofgren, D-San Jose, also called on Congress to step in to enact the program into law.

Eshoo said more than 787,000 individuals have received relief from deportation under the DACA program, allowing them to obtain work permits, pursue higher education, obtain driver’s licenses, and contribute their talents to our nation.

“These children put their faith in our government when they chose to come out of the shadows and I will fight with all that I have to ensure Congress passes legislation to overrule the president’s irresponsible action and ensure that these children can remain in the only country they have ever known,” Eshoo said in a statement.

U.S. Rep. Jackie Speier, D-San Mateo, said she will be joining her colleagues, “to demand justice, and legislation, for DACA children.”

“Now more than ever, we need a pathway to citizenship for this nation’s undocumented immigrants whose only offense has been to live peacefully and productively as our neighbors without obtaining formal permission,” she said in a statement.

University of California President Janet Napolitano said, “I am deeply troubled by President Trump’s decision to effectively end the DACA program.

“I call upon the U.S. Congress to immediately pass bipartisan legislation that would provide a permanent solution for these young people,” Napolitano said.

Thousands of “Dreamers” attend or have graduated from UC, she said.

“The university and the state of California stand together in our belief that students should be admitted to UC and other institutions of higher education based on their records of achievement and without regard to their immigration status,” Napolitano said.

The San Mateo County Office of Education provided a statement from Anne E. Campbell saying the program has provided many families in our county and state with hope for an education and a brighter future.

“Students in our schools have known that with dedication and hard work, they had the chance to receive an education and become the teachers, doctors, nurses, leaders, and responsible citizens that we encourage them to be every day in class,” Campbell said. “As educators, we worry about the impact of the president’s decision on school attendance and performance. This is a tremendous psychological burden for families, and our students, teachers and schools feel it.”

In the winding-down announced by the Homeland Security Department, DACA recipients will be allowed to retain their deferred action period and work authorization documents until they expire, within two years. Renewals applied for by Oct. 5 will be considered.

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(7) comments

James John

DACA means Deferred, so Obama gave them a bit more time, but times up and it's time for deportation.

If these kids are angry, they need to take it up with their parents who did it to them, then I blame Obama for giving them false hope. DT is in the right here by ending it because at the end of the day, these kids are still illegal aliens that received the gift of a taxpayer funded education, Now they can use that to start their lives and careers back home. The US is not their home.

jack bauer

Illegal aliens often pay hefty tuition to attend UC and thereby directly contribute to Napolitano's exorbitant salary.
The nation elected President Trump in large measure due to his prioritization of Americans , and those here legally, over those who snuck into our country and evaded arrest.
As for Harris, she has nerve calling President Trump's decision "a cruel betrayal" since it was her betrayal to seek justice against the viscious killer of San Francisco Police Officer Isaac Espinoza who was gunned-down while in the line of duty that will forever disgrace her.
The radical left cabal of Pelosi, Speier, Harris among others seek nothing less than the tearing down of America by promoting divisions within our great country.
Americans are watching...

James John

Well said. 100% true.

Christopher Conway

This was a promise fulfilled by our current president that he made in his campaign. This is why many of us voted for him. Obama made an illegal executive order that is being struck down in the courts. It is back in Congress where laws are made in this country and if you don't like it, change the law.
California politicians are only interested in laws they agree with. Instead of whining, call your congressperson or senator and ask them to try to change the law, it is how we do it in America.

Cindy Cornell

You do realize that there are DACA students who joined the military and fought overseas for our/their country?

Christopher Conway

and your point is?

James John

If the arrangement is if they fought, and upon their return, they get citizenship, then they should be. But if there was no such arrangement, they have to go.

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