Sept. 5, 2017 By Tara Law
Several elected officials who represent Queens districts condemned President Donald Trump today for ending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, known as DACA.
President Trump urged Congress to find an alternative to DACA, a program that President Barack Obama introduced by way of an executive order that aims to prevent the deportation of young undocumented immigrants who were brought into the country by their parents.
The change in policy will hit Queens hard.
According to the Migration Policy Institute, Queens has the highest number of undocumented immigrants of New York’s boroughs— 232,000. Of those, 2,800 are eligible for DACA.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced this morning that DACA would no longer be accepting new applications.
There are currently 800,000 beneficiaries of DACA throughout the United States who are legally able to work and reside. If Congress doesn’t pass legislation restoring their status, these immigrants will face deportation when the program starts to phase out in March 5.
Queens officials, including NYC Council Member Daniel Dromm (D-Jackson Heights, Elmhurst), used strong language to rebuke Trump’s decision to end the program.
“Our families, friends and neighbors―undocumented and lawfully present alike―deserve better than this.” Dromm said in a statement. “I urge Congress to challenge this reversal and take immediate action to fix our broken immigration system.”
Senator Jose Peralta (D- Corona, Jackson Heights, Elmhurst) referred to the president’s decision as “brutal and incomprehensible.”
“We cannot afford to lose our Dreamers to appease political rhetoric,” Peralta said. “This is a sad, tragic day for America. I hope this Administration rethinks this decision and works to put people over politics.”
Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer (D- Astoria, Long Island City, Sunnyside) said that he wondered if the president is “heartless or does not understand the consequences of his actions.”
He said New York has a different view toward immigrants than Trump.
“We welcome and respect all looking to build a better life for themselves and their family,” said Van Bramer. “In Western Queens and New York City, we must and will protect Dreamers. We reject this President and will fight his policies rooted in racism, hate and fear.”
New York Assemblyman Francisco Moya (D- Corona, Jackson Heights, Elmhurst) referred to his own background as the son of Ecuadorian immigrants, and noted that he represents many immigrants.
“New York will continue to be a beacon of tolerance and progressive values, and I pledge to lead the charge in city council,” said Moya.