National News

Nashville mayor, TN officials respond to Trump administration's decision to end DACA

Posted September 5

— Nashville Mayor Megan Barry is calling President Trump's decision to end the DACA program "heartbreaking."

The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program was put into action by President Obama and allows young people who came into the U.S. illegally as children to remain in the country.

Approximately 800,000 people are covered under the policy, and 8,300 of them live in Tennessee.

Congress will have six months to be able to reverse the decision. DACA recipients will begin losing their status on March 5, 2018.

Barry issued this statement in response to Attorney General Jeff Sessions' announcement on Tuesday that the program would be "rescinded":

The decision by President Trump to slam the door on hundreds of thousands of DREAMers across the nation is heartbreaking. Many of these children and young adults who are DACA recipients have only ever known the United States as their home. They deserve the chance to gain an education, earn a living, and continue contributing to our community without fear or threat of deportation. I would urge Congress to recognize this and immediately pass legislation that restores DACA as the law of the land.

DACA recipients in Nashville, or anyone who wants to take action to support DACA, is encouraged to contact Conexión Américas via email or by calling 615-320-5152.

The Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition is holding a march at 4 p.m. Tuesday. Demonstrators will be meeting at Centennial Park and will march to the offices of Sens. Bob Corker and Lamar Alexander to protest the decision.

Mary Mancini, the chair of the Tennessee Democratic Party, issued this statement:

Democrats proudly stand by the 8,340 DACA beneficiaries in Tennessee. We will continue to work to fix our broken immigration system and the most important step in doing so is to support the young DREAMers who were brought here by no fault of their own and are positively contributing to the health and well-being of this country.

The Trump administration has bent to the wishes of extremists in the Republican party and has turned its back on hard-working students and families, forcing thousands of young people back into the shadows and tearing families and communities apart. It is a cruel and devastating blow to the young immigrants who know no other country than this one.

Senator Corker and Senator Alexander voted for the 2013 Comprehensive Immigration Reform legislation that included provisions of the DREAM ACT, but Republican leadership in the US House never even allowed a vote. Senators Corker and Alexander should commit to protect DREAMers as they have before and all Tennessee Republicans should support legislation in Congress to protect our DREAMers and keep our communities safe.

Davidson County Democratic Party Chair Gary Bynum issued this statement:

Democrats know that in diversity lies strength and that our country is built on the founding principle that our boarders are open to all those who seek opportunity and prosperity.

As a nation, we should be embracing all of these hard-working, young DREAMers. However, Republicans, here and across the nation, are working tirelessly to extract and deport these DREAMers from the only country they know and love. Instead of ensuring that these young men and women have the opportunity to prosper and contribute to our country, the President and his Republican allies are terrorizing them by ripping them away from their homes after years of commitment to our country and its laws.

Statement from the Central Labor Council of Nashville and Middle Tennessee:

Today we heard from our country's President on the future of DACA- the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program-- and, today, we are renewing our resolve that attacks on immigrants' rights are attacks on workers' rights.

Almost one million young workers will have their lives turned upside down by this decision. With the President's decision to end DACA, almost one million young workers will have their right to work legally in this country taken away.

Almost one million young workers.

Here in Middle Tennessee, we work and live alongside several of DACA recipients-- the so-called Dreamers. They are our teachers. They are our nurses. They are our bank tellers. They are our servers. They are our web designers. They are our professors. They are our retail clerks. They are our entrepreneurs. They are our our friends. And they are our union members. DACA allows them to contribute fully to our economy, our community, and our unions.

But the devastating effects do not stop with the almost one million young people who will have their lives and families ripped apart by this decision. The effects of ending this program on our economy and our communities are almost unimaginable.

Roughly 300 major businesses, including Apple, Facebook, and Google, lobbied Trump to protect DACA. 'Dreamers are vital to the future of our companies and our economy. With them, we grow and create jobs," wrote the corporate executives in a joint letter. 'They are part of why we will continue to have a global competitive advantage.'

'As a labor movement, we strive to protect every worker and make every job a good job. How can we do this, when almost one million workers will be pushed back into the shadows?' says Vonda McDaniel, President of the Central Labor Council of Nashville and Middle Tennessee. 'If the right to legally work is stripped away from Dreamers, we will see wages and working conditions fall for all of us.'

We're standing with Dreamers, and we encourage you to do the same.

ACLU of Tennessee Executive Director Hedy Weinberg:

Today, the government and President Trump threw the lives and futures of 800,000 Dreamers and their families into disarray, and injected chaos and uncertainty into thousands of workplaces and communities across America.

In Tennessee alone, more than 8,300 of our neighbors used their DACA status to give back to our country in innumerable ways: they are our doctors, soldiers, and students. Our neighbors, family, and friends.

Now, the fate of 800,000 young adults who were part of DACA nationwide, who call this country their home, lies in the hands of Congress. Lawmakers such as Senators Corker and Alexander, Congressman Duncan and others must decide if they are on the side of Dreamers and our country's foundation or on the side of the ugly forces that helped to end DACA.

While this is a hard day for the immigrant community and America as a whole, we will continue to fight. Years of courage, sacrifices, and organizing won the DACA program in 2012. Nothing will deter these Americans and our allies in Tennessee and across the country from continuing to fight on behalf of their futures and holding those responsible accountable.

Several local universities have also weighed in on the decision. Below is a list of their responses.

Vanderbilt University Chancellor Nicholas S. Zeppos:

Ending DACA is a mistake. Without an alternative in place, it closes the door to young student scholars and leaders raised and educated in the United States and cuts short their potential to contribute to their communities and our national economy. We urge and stand ready to support swift enactment of legislation, such as the BRIDGE Act, that allows these young people to reach their dreams in the only nation they've ever called home.

Our mission of teaching and discovery demands a vibrant academic environment supported by a culture of curiosity, diversity, access and inclusion. To that end, we will continue to support and embrace our students regardless of immigration status, citizenship or nationality.

Trevecca Nazarene University:

As a Christian university, Trevecca exists to educate all students who choose to continue their education in our community. We desire to invest in, mentor and support our students, fulfilling our mission of providing education for leadership and service. Echoing the statements issued earlier this year by the Church of the Nazarene's Board of General Superintendents and the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities (CCCU) regarding DACA, we believe Christ compels us to love and care for all students, knowing all people are made in the image of God. We desire Trevecca Nazarene University to be a community characterized by love, compassion, and hospitality.

'As part of a global movement that addresses human need in more than 160 countries, we believe it inconsistent to ignore the education of our neighbors,' said Dr. Dan Boone, president of Trevecca. 'There are no foreigners in the kingdom of God.'

Stay with News 4 for updates on this developing story.

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