TRENTON – Senator Joseph Vitale (D-Middlesex) issued the following statement on the Trump Administration’s decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program implemented by President Obama:
“Today President Trump, through Attorney General Sessions, announced that the Trump Administration will no longer proceed with the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. This program, put in place by President Obama in 2012, allows for children of immigrants to stay in the United States, attend school, work, and otherwise become productive and contributing members to American society. Nearly 800,000 DACA recipients have been allowed to remain in the United States in exchange for registering with the government, giving their personal information to the government, trusting that the government will not use this information against them.
“With the Trump Administration’s decision to discontinue the program, 800,000 productive members of our communities will now be at risk. Their legal status will become ‘illegal’ at a moment’s notice, through no fault of their own. There are 22,000 DACA recipients, known as DREAMers, here in New Jersey. They are our neighbors, our family, our friends. These New Jerseyans were brought here at young ages by their families. They did not choose to immigrate to the United States, they did not choose where they settled, and they did not choose their status. They were children when they arrived, and they know no other home.
“This decision is cruel and has no reasonable security or policy basis. Comprehensive immigration reform is desperately needed in this country. But let’s be clear – comprehensive immigration reform has absolutely nothing to do with the decision made by the Trump Administration today.
“Immigration issues are left to the federal government, so what we can do here on the state level is limited. I am working on a resolution today so that the New Jersey Legislature, at the next opportunity, can vote to urge Congress to codify the DACA program. I implore Congress to take this step to protect our neighbors and the many well-meaning, innocent children, who came here through no fault or decision of their own, so that they can continue to learn, work, and thrive in the only home they have ever known.”