DACA announcement sparks fear, praise in Southern California – Orange County Register

Iveth Diaz didn’t hear compassion.

While Attorney General Jeff Sessions said Tuesday that ending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, better known, as DACA was the “compassionate” thing to do, Diaz, 26, who is protected by the program, heard only uncertainty.

For Diaz and nearly 800,000 others currently protected by DACA the announcement issued Tuesday means limbo. Though they’ve grown up in the United States and consider it home, Diaz and others face the very real prospect of being ordered back to a country of origin that many don’t know or remember at all.

That outcome isn’t definite. Sessions, who announced the DACA decision instead of President Donald Trump — who campaigned on it — said the administration will urge Congress to pass immigration reform. Some hope that the new rules would make permanent what DACA has done temporarily over the past five years, which is to let people brought here illegally as children work and study without fear of deportation. And public opinion polls show widespread support for the basic aims of DACA and for the people protected by it.

But Sessions, in his announcement, also suggested that the existence of DACA and the protection it has offered so-called DREAMers like Diaz has been a drain on America.

After saying that DACA has “denied jobs to hundreds of thousands of Americans” — a claim widely refuted by many economists — Sessions added: “Failure to enforce the laws in the past has put our nation at risk of crime, violence and even terrorism. The compassionate thing is to end the lawlessness, enforce our laws. …”

Diaz, of San Jacinto and a director of Graduate Studies at Cal State San Bernardino, disagreed.

“Nothing about what he said was compassionate.”

If Diaz didn’t hear compassion, others did hear reason.

Anti-illegal immigration advocates who have fought DACA since President Barack Obama signed the order in 2012, cheered the news. Many said they want Congress to implement legislation that secures the border and ends all sanctuary policies.

“This is the time for Congress, particularly for the Democratic leadership … to step up to the plate,” said Ira Mehlman, a spokesman for the Federation for American Reform, a Washington, D.C.-based group that advocates stopping illegal immigration.

“Come forward with a whole package that will ensure the American people that our immigration laws will be honored,” he said.

The Federation for American Immigration…

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