Washington: Indian-American lawmakers have criticised US President Donald Trump for scrapping an amnesty programme that granted work permits to immigrants who arrived in the country illegally as children, saying the consequences of the decision will be “devastating”.
Describing Trump’s action as a cruel and inhuman, five Indian American lawmakers in separate statements announced that they will fight the US president’s decision.
“The consequences of this decision will be devastating. It will split up families, force young people back to countries they never knew, and cost our economy billions of dollars. It is heartless,” Democratic Senator Kamala Harris said.
Harris said recipients of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) programme makes the US nation strong and represents the best of America.
“The President’s decision undermines our nation’s values and is a cruel betrayal to the more than 800,000 young people, including more than 200,000 Californians, who have only ever known the United States of America as their home,” Harris said.
Outraged by Trump’s decision, Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal said by doing so he is destroying the future of nearly 800,000 young men and women who were brought here by their parents and know no other country but this one.
“After toying with their futures and raising their hopes with talk of his ‘big heart’, Donald Trump has shown exactly what his priorities are. He has once again sided with hate and xenophobia, putting in place a repeal that is cruel, inhumane and unjust,” the Democratic lawmaker said.
Jayapal urged her colleagues on both sides of the aisle to immediately pass stand-alone legislation to protect the ‘dreamers’, as those covered under the programme are called.
“Let me be clear: Our immigrant brothers and sisters are here to stay. Not only are they welcome in our communities – they are essential to our communities. I will continue to fight alongside ‘dreamers’ and the immigrant rights movement,” she said.
“I ask my Republican colleagues to consider which side of justice they wish to be on, and join us in passing legislation to protect ‘dreamers’ once and for all,” she added.
Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi also slammed Trump’s decision, terming the move as “cruel”.
“The administration’s cruel policy includes a six-month phase- out of the DACA programme, and Congress must pass legislation to extend this programme and protect ‘dreamers’,” Krishnamoorthi said.
“This issue is personal for me because I too was brought to the United States by my parents as a child. The hope for a better a life which carried my parents here was no different from that of the parents of ‘dreamers’, and generations of immigrants before,” he said.
This decision by the Trump administration goes against American values, said Congressman Dr Ami Bera.
“Children brought to the United States – through no fault of their own – deserve our compassion. These children have passed background checks and are already contributing to our economy as productive residents,” Bera said.
“Detaining and deporting children is not only morally wrong, it doesn’t make economic sense. I urge the administration to reverse this decision immediately,” Bera said.
Congressman Ro Khanna said the Trump administration has once again showed that it has no dignity for friends, neighbours and colleagues.
“We must safeguard the livelihood of ‘dreamers’ and provide these inspiring young people and their courageous parents a pathway to citizenship,” Khanna said.