Republican legislative leaders in California said Tuesday it is up to Congress now to fix the nation’s immigration laws following President Trump’s decision to end the DACA program.
The statements reflected an effort by the California GOP to avoid alienating Latino voters with hard-line positions on immigration.
"The president has rescinded an unconstitutional executive order from the prior administration that he had committed to reverse during the campaign,” said state Senate Republican leader Patricia Bates of Laguna Niguel. “Now the real work must begin.”
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said Tuesday that the city will continue to welcome Dreamers despite President Trump's decision to end the DACA program.
"To all the Dreamers that are here in this room and the city of Chicago, you are welcome in the city of Chicago. This is your home and you have nothing to worry about," Emanuel said to a group of students.
"Chicago — our schools our neighborhoods, our city, as it relates to what President Trump said — will be a Trump-free zone. You have nothing to worry about," he said.
A top aide to Gov. Jerry Brown on Tuesday blasted the Trump administration's decision to end protections for children who were brought to the country illegally by their parents.
The aide, Nancy McFadden, called the move "senseless and cruel."
"California has its eyes on Congress to do what it should have done years ago, but we cannot bank on that," she said in a statement. "So the governor stands with Attorney General [Xavier] Becerra as he takes our fight to court to defend the Dreamers.”
The University of California's chief immigration legal expert urged students who have received government reprieves from deportation to stay calm in the face of President Trump's announcement Tuesday that he plans to phase out DACA protections.
Maria Blanco, who heads the UC Immigrant Legal Services Center, said a major lobbying campaign will try to push Congress to extend the protections to nearly 800,000 young immigrants who were brought to the country illegally or fell out of legal status. Under the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, deportation proceedings have been suspended against young immigrants brought to the country before age 16 who stayed in school and out of trouble. The young people also have been allowed to obtain work permits.
"We have a very good shot at legislation in Congress and making that happen right away," Blanco said. "Students shouldn't do anything like quit school or their jobs.
The Mexican government on Tuesday expressed its “profound regret” following the Trump administration’s decision to end the DACA program that shielded hundreds of thousands of young men and women living in the United States from deportation.
The great majority of the estimated 800,000 “Dreamers” are Mexican nationals who were brought to the United States as minors.
Mexico will welcome “with open arms” those DACA beneficiaries who return to Mexico, the Mexican Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
Rep. David Valadao (R-Hanford) said Tuesday that Congress must address the hundreds of thousands of people brought to the country illegally before they lose federal deportation protections in spring.
Valadao's Central Valley congressional district is more than 75% Latino, the highest minority percentage of any of California's 14 Republican districts. He urged President Trump not to rescind DACA, and when rumors began last week that the president would end the program, Valadao asked House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) to let the House vote on some of the legislation that's been proposed to address the Dreamers' legal status.
"For years, Congress has failed to repair our broken immigration system. However, in light of the president’s announcement, Congress must come together within the next six months to reach a legislative solution," Valadao said in a statement. "I will continue to advocate on behalf of Dreamers. America is the only home these young people know and I will do everything in my power to ensure those who were brought to the United States through no fault of their own are not unjustly punished."