Green Country reacts to Trump DACA decision

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TULSA, Okla. - Quick facts:

  • Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced Tuesday that the White House plans to end DACA.
  • The program helps keep the children of undocumented immigrants from being deported.
  • Groups and officials in Green Country responded to the decision.

 

Different groups and officials in Green Country are responding to President Donald Trump's decision to end DACA, a program created by Former President Barack Obama to protect the children of undocumented immigrants from deportation.

SEE MORE: Obama calls DACA decision 'cruel,' 'self-defeating'

Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the decision to phase out the program Tuesday.

That decision will affect about 800,000 people who currently fall under the program, including thousands in Oklahoma.

SEE MORE: DACA changes won't lead to immediate end of 'Dreamer' program in U.S.

In Green Country, groups joined those gathering across the nation to protest in support of DACA. A local Latino group met in Stillwater for a silent protest Tuesday morning.

SEE MORE: 5 things to know as Trump administration ends DACA 

Senator James Lankford (R-Okla.) said in a statement Tuesday that Americans should not hold children legally accountable for the actions of their parent:

"Attorney General Jeff Sessions is correct that the White House is responsible for immigration enforcement and border security, not immigration policy. Making significant policy changes through Executive Action is the wrong approach. This type of immigration policy reform must come from the American people through legislation from Congress.

 

“It is right for there to be consequences for those who intentionally entered this country illegally. However, we as Americans do not hold children legally accountable for the actions of their parent. In the coming months, Congress must address this issue."

FWD.us, a "tech community to promote policies that keep the U.S. competitive in a global economy," released a statement saying the loss of DACA protections could cost the state of Oklahoma $17.4 million a year in taxes and $343 million in lost GDP:

"We are extremely disappointed that the DACA program is going to be shut down in six months. This means that nearly 6,900 Oklahoma young people, and 800,000 young people nationwide, will lose their jobs and face the threat of immediate deportation. DACA had allowed these young individuals to receive temporary relief from deportation, attend schools, work and become integral members of our community.  

"Republicans and Democrats in Congress must come together quickly to pass a permanent legislative solution to give these young hard-working individuals a chance to remain in the only country they have ever known. Currently, DACA recipients in Oklahoma pay over $17.4 million a year in state and local taxes. With the loss of DACA protections, Oklahoma will lose $7.4 million every year. Additionally, the GDP loss from removing DACA workers in Oklahoma will cost the state over $343 million every year as well as $460 billion nationally over the next decade. We hope that Congress will join the overwhelming majority of Americans who support protecting these hardworking young people and pass a legislative solution in September."

Tulsa Public Schools Superintendent Deborah Gist took to Facebook, posting in Spanish that Oklahomans have a responsibility to protect and provide for all children in the state:

"Tenemos la responsabilidad de proteger y proveer para todos nuestros niños, sin importar su estado migratorio. Sin la protección provista por el programa de Acción Diferida para los Llegados en la Infancia (DACA), cerca de un millón de niños que se criaron aquí en nuestro país, podrían perder el sueño americano que tanto se merecen y por el que tanto han trabajado. El equipo de las Escuelas Públicas de Tulsa y yo, le imploramos al Congreso de los Estados Unidos que tome una acción rápida para crear y aprobar una legislación que asegure que estos jóvenes protegidos por DACA puedan continuar viviendo, trabajando, aprendiendo y contribuyendo a nuestras comunidades.

"Los soñadores son parte de la familia de las Escuelas Públicas de Tulsa – son nuestros estudiantes y nuestro personal y nosotros somos mejores gracias a sus contribuciones y a la diversidad de sus perspectivas. Estos soñadores son líderes en nuestra comunidad que trabajan incansablemente para lograr un cambio positivo para nuestra ciudad. Los soñadores provienen de diferentes ámbitos y son una parte invaluable de la gran diversidad de Tulsa, Oklahoma y de los Estados Unidos.

"Cuando se fundó nuestra nación, un grupo de inmigrantes se reunió y declaró que “todos los hombres son creados iguales, que su creador los ha dotado de ciertos derechos inalienables, que entre ellos se encuentra la vida, la libertad y la búsqueda de la felicidad.” Este es el Sueño Americano, tal como se estableció en el nacimiento de nuestra nación, y ésta es la América que todo niño se merece. A nuestros soñadores inmigrantes y refugiados les decimos: sepan que nosotros los queremos, estamos con ustedes, y haremos todo lo que esté en nuestras manos para protegerlos, apoyarlos y ayudarlos a alcanzar sus sueños americanos."

The Greater Tulsa Hispanic Chamber of Commerce released a statement calling for people to contact their members of commerce to ask for Dreamers' protection:

"We are extremely disappointed that the DACA program is going to be shut down in six months. This means that nearly 6,900 Oklahoma young people, and 800,000 young people nationwide, will lose their jobs and face the threat of immediate deportation. DACA had allowed these young individuals to receive temporary relief from deportation, attend schools, work and become integral members of our community.  

"Republicans and Democrats in Congress must come together quickly to pass a permanent legislative solution to give these young hard-working individuals a chance to remain in the only country they have ever known. Currently, DACA recipients in Oklahoma pay over $17.4 million a year in state and local taxes. With the loss of DACA protections, Oklahoma will lose $7.4 million every year. Additionally, the GDP loss from removing DACA workers in Oklahoma will cost the state over $343 million every year as well as $460 billion nationally over the next decade. We hope that Congress will join the overwhelming majority of Americans who support protecting these hardworking young people and pass a legislative solution in September."

 

"Please consider contacting our members of congress and ask them to protect these Dreamers from deportation and to act on legislation that would prevent them from leaving the only home they have known, The U.S.A.

"We are saddened that this moment has come for our nation's DACA recipients, we are proud to see our partners, sister organizations and supporters come together for the good of the community during this time of crisis.  

 "We will continue along with other local and National organizations to serve as a voice for the Hispanic and immigrant community in the midst of an increasingly hostile environment, but we know that the best means of ensuring that the most vulnerable among us are protected is an overhaul of our nation's broken immigration system.

"The time for comprehensive immigration reform has never been greater, and we will continue to work toward that end for the good of the nation and the Hispanic community."

Oklahoma Catholic bishops urged President Trump to keep DACA in place:

"Based on reports that the White House will end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program in six months, we urge President Trump and Members of Congress, specifically the Oklahoma delegation, to pursue legislation that strengthens the program or provides legal status for youth hoping for a brighter future. 

"At the heart of Catholic Social Teaching is the moral obligation to protect the life and dignity of every human being, particularly the most vulnerable, which includes our youth. These young people who are benefitting from DACA were brought to the United States by their parents whose desire was to provide their children with hope, opportunity and safety.

"Catholic Bishops in the United States have long supported DACA, and they will continue to support it. While DACA provides no legal status or path to citizenship, it does provide recipients with a temporary reprieve from deportation and employment authorization for legal work opportunities in the United States. An estimated 800,000 young people in the United States have benefitted from the DACA program.  

"Through our parishes and through Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City and the Diocese of Tulsa & Eastern Oklahoma, we have had the privilege of meeting and working with these outstanding individuals, who are very much a part of who we are as an Oklahoma community. They are contributors to our economy, veterans of our military, academic standouts in our universities, seminarians, and leaders in our parishes.

"Legislation that ensures these young people can continue to work, study and be protected from deportation is important to the stability of our communities.

"However, a decision to end this program, without a legislative fix such as the DREAM Act, would turn our nation's back on immigrant youth who are seeking to reach the fullness of their God-given potential and to fulfill the promise of gratefully giving back to the only country most have ever known. Such a decision would place DACA youth at risk of deportation from the United States.

"The administration has an extraordinary opportunity to demonstrate, both now and to future generations, our nation's spirit of generosity and compassion. We hope and pray President Trump and Congress can transcend the partisan rancor to strengthen the DACA program or provide legal status for thousands of Oklahoma youth, and hundreds of thousands of young people in our nation."


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