Breaking with long-standing tradition, Barack Obama sharply criticized President Trump’s decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, a signature policy promulgated during the former president’s tenure. Obama said of the rescission of the 2012 policy that a “shadow has been cast over some of our best and brightest young people once again.” Writing on Facebook, the former president claimed that he created DACA because “it made no sense to expel talented, driven, patriotic young people from the only country they know solely because of the actions of their parents.”

“To target these young people is wrong — because they have done nothing wrong. It is self-defeating — because they want to start new businesses, staff our labs, serve in our military, and otherwise contribute to the country we love. And it is cruel,” Obama wrote. Calling on Congress to pass legislation to preserve the benefits enjoyed by DACA recipients, Obama wrote, "It is precisely because this action is contrary to our spirit, and to common sense, that business leaders, faith leaders, economists, and Americans of all political stripes called on the administration not to do what it did today." The president demanded action by Congress, writing, "And now that the White House has shifted its responsibility for these young people to Congress, it’s up to Members of Congress to protect these young people and our future."

Preserving DACA, Obama said, is “about basic decency.”

“This is about whether we are a people who kick hopeful young strivers out of America, or whether we treat them the way we’d want our own kids to be treated. It’s about who we are as a people — and who we want to be,” Obama wrote.

Just hours before Obama released his statement, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the rescission of DACA. Approximately 800,000 immigrants, who entered the country illegally as minors, have benefitted from the program so far. DACA allows beneficiaries to reside and work legally in the US. Some states provide tuition scholarships to DACA beneficiaries at state-supported colleges and universities.

The decision by the Trump administration to end DACA comes with a six-month delay. House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) has called for a “permanent legislative solution” to DACA, and other members of Congress have called for similar action.

"President Obama's Hysterical Facebook Post," was the headline of an opinion article posted by National Review writer Rich Lowry. He wrote: "Obama says “to target these young people is wrong.” But Trump isn’t “targeting” them. Everything indicates that he had sympathy for the so-called DREAMERs, which is why he hesitated for so long even though the legal case against DACA is obvious. He has given Congress ample time to act, and even if it doesn’t, the administration has made it clear that it won’t make this population an enforcement priority."

Former Republican Congressman Joe Walsh tweeted: "Trump did something today that made Obama very, very angry. That means that Trump did something very, very good today."



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Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat and the editor of Spero News.

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