With thousands of undocumented immigrants facing possible deportation from the United States, Caribbean-American legislators are urging the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) to urgently mobilize push back against President Donald Trump’s decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).
DACA, a policy of former President Barack Obama, had granted about 800,000 young undocumented immigrants brought to the US as children from deportation, and Caribbean-born officials warn that scrapping it will be devastating.
US Congresswoman Yvette D Clarke, the daughter of Jamaican immigrants, called the move a “reckless and cruel decision” that punished immigrants in a misguided effort to undermine Obama’s proud legacy and “satisfy anti-immigrant white supremacists who are afraid of our modern, diverse nation”.
“Throughout the history of the United States, there are decisions we have come to regret. I am certain that future generations will deeply regret this terrible decision as well,” she said.
At the same, New York Council member Jumanne Williams, who has Grenadian heritage, is urging CARICOM to speak out against the development.
“We must all become a part of the resistance. This president has made it clear that he’s coming for all of us, whether we choose to acknowledge it or not.
“I am urging the Caribbean community to mobilize with more urgency on this issue,” he said. “This issue will almost certainly endanger scores of Caribbean immigrants, and it is imperative that we join with our more active Latino brothers and sisters to make our voices heard loudly on this issue.”
Williams said the issue should be challenged in the law courts and efforts made to turn up the pressure on Congress to fight the issue with legislation.
Just before the dreaded announcement came yesterday, New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio had told the gathering attending the pre-Caribbean Carnival Breakfast on Monday, that he was prepared to take legal action if President Trump followed through with his threat to end DACA.
After the announcement made by Attorney General Jeff Sessions, President Trump issued a statement blaming former President Obama for creating the program through executive authority, and he urged Congress to come up with a solution.
“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,” Trump said. “We must also have heart and compassion for unemployed, struggling and forgotten Americans.”
The move prompted an immediate response from Obama, who decried Trump’s dismantling of DACA as a “cruel” and “self-defeating” decision.