Dueling Responses to Trump’s DACA Decision


President Donald Trump’s decision to end the federal Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, announced on Tuesday, was not surprisingly greeted by different responses by New York elected officials.

DACA was initiated through an executive order signed by President Barack Obama in 2012 after Congress failed to pass the Dream Act. Under the program, those who were brought to the United States as children were allowed to attend school and receive renewable work permits that allowed them to stay in the country without fear of deportation.

“President Trump’s action today is an affront to who we are as Americans,” said Senator Kristen Gillibrand, a Democrat, in a release. “He is needlessly targeting children who know no other country as home than America. This does not make our communities safer or our economy stronger. In fact, it does just the opposite. Congress must lead where the president won’t and pass the Dream Act. America does not merely tolerate immigration — we thrive on it, and we are better than needlessly targeting hardworking young adults to score crass partisan points.”

U.S. Representative Lee Zeldin, a Republican who represents the 1st District and has been one of Mr. Trump’s biggest boosters, said in a release of his own, “If the Obama administration wanted to implement the DACA program, it should have made the case to Congress and try to pass its proposal into law. The administration absolutely did not have the authority to write its own ‘laws.’”

“I can think of various circumstances where deportation won’t be the solution, but a blanket rewarding and incentivizing of bad behavior is going to lead to even more abuse of our immigration system by others.”

Meanwhile, Governor Andrew Cuomo and New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, both Democrats, said the state would sue the federal government over the president’s decision.”President Trump’s decision to end the DACA program would be cruel, gratuitous, and devastating to tens of thousands of New Yorkers — and I will sue to protect them,” said Mr. Schneiderman in a release. “Dreamers are Americans in every way. They played by the rules. They pay their taxes. And they’ve earned the right to stay in the only home they have ever known. More than 40,000 New Yorkers are protected under DACA. They pay more than $140 million in state and local taxes. They are vital members of our community.”

The president’s decision “will rip families apart, sow havoc in our communities and force innocent people — our neighbors, our friends, and our relatives — to live in fear,” the governor said in the same release. “We should not and cannot sit on the sidelines and watch the lives of these young people ruined. We have both a legal and moral obligation to make sure that the laws are faithfully executed without discrimination or animus. In New York, we are stepping up to protect immigrants.”