Obama Slams Trump’s “Cruel” Decision to End DACA

“To target hopeful young strivers who grew up here is wrong, because they’ve done nothing wrong.”

Ralf Hirschberger/ZUMA

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Former President Barack Obama released a statement Tuesday condemning President Donald Trump’s decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

In 2012, Obama created the program, known as DACA, to protect the roughly 800,000 undocumented immigrants living in the US who had arrived to the country as children, also allowing them to legally work without the threat of deportation.

The former president has largely refrained from publicly criticizing his successor, despite the Trump administration’s efforts to roll back many of the policies—such as health care reform, environmental rules, and Wall Street regulations—enacted during Obama’s two terms. But in his final press conference as president, Obama suggested he would be compelled to speak out in specific situations he believed were tantamount to acts of “systematic discrimination.” One such situation was if DACA were eliminated or rolled back. 

“They are our kids’ friends and their classmates, and are now entering into community colleges or in some cases serving in our military,” he said in January. “The notion that we would just arbitrarily or because of politics punish those kids, when they didn’t do anything wrong themselves, I think would be something that would merit me speaking out.”

His statement Tuesday, however, did not directly mention Trump by name. 

“Now that the White House has shifted its responsibility for these young people to Congress, it’s up to Members of Congress to protect these young people and our future,” Obama wrote. “I’m heartened by those who’ve suggested that they should. And I join my voice with the majority of Americans who hope they step up and do it with a sense of moral urgency that matches the urgency these young people feel.”

In announcing the decision to end DACA, Attorney General Jeff Sessions described the Obama-era initiative as a show of “disrespect” to the legislative system. It’s now up to Congress to pass a legislative replacement in the next six months. 

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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