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DACA rescission ignites protest outside White House

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Published: 09:40 GMT, Sep 6, 2017 |
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DACA

Supporters of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program staged a protest outside of the White House on Tuesday as word spread that U.S. President Donald Trump decided to rescind the federal program.

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the decision at a press conference on the same day and urged the Congress to find a replacement in six months. He said the executive action by former U.S. President Barack Obama was “such an open-ended circumvention of immigration laws was an unconstitutional exercise of authority by the Executive Branch.”

Hundreds of protesters took the streets in the U.S. capital, hold an effigy of Trump and signs justifying their right to stay in the country and shouting slogans against the Trump administration winding down the program that has protected many young undocumented immigrants from deportation for years.

The protest added to the already vehement protests around the country against Trump’s decision to scrap the amnesty for hundreds of thousands of young undocumented immigrants.

The 800,000-strong immigrants under DACA, most of whom are from Latin American, have since entered universities or engaged in various professions. They have become known as “Dreamers”.

Scrapping the program will have a devastating impact on the destiny of the young immigrants. Protests have erupted around the U.S. against the rescission, with opposition mounting.

“Trump dared to end this program, this attack on this program. We knew that it could happen because he has proven to be on the white supremacy side. Trump didn’t feel like he had the guts to tell it to our faces. He sent Jeff Sessions to do that. He put a ticking bomb on us in saying, ‘six months, you need to figure it out and you need to have people to figure it out because guess what, this is no longer my issue’. So we are going to fight because what he did is cowardly,” said Andrea, a protester.

DACA, which was launched in 2012 by Obama, allowed immigrants who were illegally brought to the U.S. under the age of 16 and lived in the country for at least five years to study or work. Their status must be renewed every two years for deportation relief.

The decision to kill the DACA program has sparked divisions across the U.S. Some who approved of Trump’s decision claim it violates immigration law and that it allows illegal immigrants to take away their jobs. On the other end, Obama, who vowed to speak out if Trump went ahead with his decision to rescind DACA, called the move “cruel and wrong”. Apple CEO Tim Cook posted on his Twitter account that 250 of his co-workers are Dreamers, reaffirming his support for them.

U.S. Congress has six months to act, but analysts say chances are slim for DACA to be legalized in the Republican-controlled House and Senate. It has also been reported that Trump might use the move as leverage to fund his proposed border wall on the U.S.-Mexico border.

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