Protests have broken out across the United States following the decision by the Trump administration to scrap the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals – or DACA as its known.
From New York to Denver, immigration activists have condemned the decision.
DACA was designed to protect youngsters from deportation who have been brought into the US illegally as children.
While existing recipients will see no impact for at least six months, no new applications can now be made.
Flor Reyes in New York fearing she would be affected by the move gave an emotional response:
“I’m not sure how I will go home later today and explain to my mom that the help I have been providing to her is not there any longer….At the moment we need to stand up. We need to make sure that Congress is held accountable for what they have promised us.”
DACA was one of former President Barack Obama’s initiatives. Under the programme, the so-called “Dreamers”, mostly Latin Americans, were able to apply for work and study permits.
Using social media he called Trump’s action a political decision which was both cruel and self defeating.
He urged Congress to pass a bill fixing the situation “with a sense of moral urgency.”
President Trump argues the programme which Obama bypassed Congress to enact, was unconstitutional.
He has dismissed accusations that he wants to punish youngsters for their parents’ actions.
“As I’ve said before, we will resolve the DACA issue with heart and compassion — but through the lawful democratic process — while at the same time ensuring that any immigration reform we adopt provides enduring benefits for the American citizens we were elected to serve. We must also have heart and compassion for unemployed, struggling, and forgotten Americans,” Trump said.
He has given Congress six months to decide the fate of almost 800,000 young people.
Later a Trump ‘tweet’ clouded his view saying he plans to ‘revisit’ the issue if Congress doesn’t legalise his decision.
Republican senators have criticised the administration for going too fast on this issue. They have urged Trump to get personally involved in advancing legislation that would put a select group of young immigrants on a path to US citizenship.