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A Betrayal of America’s Soul

For the US – a country of immigrants and their descendants – September 5, 2017, marked a betrayal of the nation’s soul. The announcement by President Donald Trump’s administration that it is ending the so-called DACA program threatens to upend the lives of an entire generation.

NEW YORK – For the United States – a country of immigrants and their descendants – September 5, 2017, marked a betrayal of the nation’s soul. The announcement by President Donald Trump’s administration that it is ending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which President Barack Obama established by executive order in 2012, threatens to upend the lives of an entire generation.

The DACA program permitted close to 800,000 undocumented young people (known as “Dreamers”), brought into the country as children, to be protected from deportation, so long as they passed a background check and maintained a clean criminal record. What we saw on September 5, of course, is that an initiative begun by executive order can be dismantled through a counter-order by the executive’s successor.

But ending the program creates a real possibility of arrest and deportation for hundreds of thousands of young people who feel themselves to be American through and through – indeed, who overwhelmingly have no memory of living in any other country. They have committed no crime, and are building productive lives in the United States – whether by going to school, working, starting families, establishing businesses, or serving in the armed forces.

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