Over the weekend, when it became apparent that Donald Trump was going to end DACA, the deferment program for undocumented immigrants who were brought here as children, Barack Obama told us that he was going to release a statement on the situation unless Trump changed his mind. Unfortunately, the Trump administration went through with their plan, laid out in a horrifying speech from one of America’s most notorious racists, Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
But where we are alarmed by Trump’s actions toward these would-be citizens, we can take comfort in President Obama’s words today. His compassionate explanation of the necessity for the executive order that led to DACA underlines the fundamental differences between not only this administration and the last, but between Republicans and the rest of the country.
The statement isn’t simply a condemnation of Trump’s actions. It is a deeper reading of what went into making the decision to implement the program and what went into ending it. Obama outlined his reasoning for the order:
These Dreamers are Americans in their hearts, in their minds, in every single way but one: on paper. They were brought to this country by their parents, sometimes even as infants. They may not know a country besides ours. They may not even know a language besides English. They often have no idea they’re undocumented until they apply for a job, or college, or a driver’s license.”
He also explained in layman’s terms why we see Republicans ending it now:
Let’s be clear: the action taken today isn’t required legally. It’s a political decision, and a moral question.”
And he laid out why Trump’s decision is such a terrible one, opposed by so many:
Kicking them out won’t lower the unemployment rate, or lighten anyone’s taxes, or raise anybody’s wages.”
And now that Trump has kicked the ball back into Congress’ court, it’s going to be up to those leaders in the House and Senate — who have repeatedly said that this is a job for Congress — to devise a solution that keeps these kids from being deported to a foreign country that is not their home.
Featured image via Stephen Lam/Getty Images