WASHINGTON, DC - Today, after the Trump Administration announced plans to effectively end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which has permitted nearly 800,000 undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States as children to receive work permits and deferral from deportation, U.S. Senator Jack Reed issued the following statement:

“President Trump’s priorities are backwards.  He stands behind divisive figures like Joe Arpaio, but shows no compassion for bright, hardworking kids.  The President’s policy could split up families, hurt our economy, and send children who’ve been living and studying here away to countries they have never known. 

“In essence, the President is setting deportation dates for 800,000 young people who have pursued an education, contributed to their communities, and stayed out of trouble.  Some of these young Americans are serving honorably in our Armed Forces and may now be thrust into legal limbo.    

“President Trump’s heartless decision to revoke DACA is a moral, humanitarian, and economic failure on his part.  Rescinding DACA this way is not about the rule of law, it is about President Trump pandering to an extreme viewpoint.  The fact that President Trump was unwilling to make this announcement himself is an acknowledgement that this is about appeasing his most virulent and vocal voters, not leading the greatest country in the world.

“There are also real economic consequences to revoking DACA.  The Center for American Progress estimates that terminating DACA and removing unauthorized workers could cost the United States about $460 billion in economic growth over the next decade.  There is no good economic argument for this action. 

“As I’ve long said, we need comprehensive and realistic immigration reform legislation.  We should show compassion for Dreamers and work toward immigration policies that strengthen our nation and help our economy grow.  In the wake of the President’s failure, Congress should also act on a bipartisan basis to create a pathway to citizenship for young people who were brought here by their parents as children and continue making meaningful contributions to our country.  I believe the Senate can do so, but I’m concerned that the House will fail to act.”

Senator Reed was one of 55 U.S. Senators to vote for the DREAM Act of 2010, which would have allowed eligible students to apply for legal status if they were brought to the U.S. before their 16th birthday, lived continuously in the U.S. since at least 2006, graduated from high school, passed a background check, and completed at least two years of college or military service in good standing.  Republicans filibustered the bill and it failed to garner the 60 votes necessary.  Over the years, Senator Reed has cosponsored the DREAM Act.  In this Congress, he is a cosponsor of the Protect Dreamer Confidentiality Act of 2017 (S. 229), a bill to safeguard the private information—such as addresses and telephone numbers—of young immigrants brought here by their parents as infants or children, to ensure that they are not targeted by the Trump Administration for deportation.