New Mexico officials, groups respond to President’s decision to rescind DACA program

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced Tuesday that the United States will stop processing new applications under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.

The program protects an estimated 800,000 young immigrants. In New Mexico, about 7,000 New Mexicans are affected by the President’s decision.

Last week, the Associated Students of the University of New Mexico passed a joint resolution showing a united support for undocumented students. The university’s student government resolution calls for undocumented students to receive the benefits that citizens of the state receive because they pay federal and state taxes. The resolution also asks for the UNM Board of Regents to add an application stating that undocumented students shall receive in state tuition and the lottery scholarship if they meet certain criteria.

Attorney General Hector Balderas issued the following statement:

I am currently working with my fellow state attorneys general to build a strong case for our Dreamers because President Trump is compromising the safety of our communities and our nation, and he is putting the security of thousands of New Mexicans who contribute to our classrooms, public safety and economy at risk. Losing hundreds of thousands of hard-working Americans such as future police officers, members of the military, doctors and teachers will create an unacceptable public safety threat in the United States.

Albuquerque Mayor Richard Berry issued the following statement:

As Mayor of Albuquerque and as a Republican, I urge Congress to work with the President and quickly pass bipartisan legislation that would enable Dreamers – people who have lived in America since they were children and built their lives here – to earn lawful permanent residence and eventually earn American citizenship if they meet the criteria. It’s the right thing to do for Dreamers, for our community and for our country.

Senator Martin Heinrich issued the following statement:

President Trump’s decision to end DACA protections is a heartless and grave mistake. We should never be a country that kicks out some of our best and brightest students. In the five years since its implementation, DACA has changed the lives of many of our brightest students and veterans who have come out of the shadows to earn an education, contribute to our economy, and give back to their communities and their country. I’ve had the privilege of meeting dreamers in New Mexico and sharing their inspiring stories. These young people are smart, inspiring, and most of them don’t know how to be anything but American.

We should not be a nation that tears families apart. I will not stand for policies that are contrary to our fundamental American ideals and values. I know how hard immigrants work, how much they believe in this country, how much they’re willing to give back, and how different my own life would be if America had turned my father away when he immigrated here as a young boy.

The fight is not over. I will continue to stand with dreamers and defend the promise DACA represents for thousands of young people across New Mexico.

Senator Tom Udall issued the following statement:

President Trump’s decision to end the DACA program is a cruel and short-sighted mistake that will cause chaos for families and our economy. The 800,000 Dreamers – including almost 8,000 New Mexicans – who agreed to participate in DACA represent the best of our country. Many have told me their stories — they are talented, patriotic young adults who want to finish their education and work as teachers, doctors, engineers. DACA allows them legal status so they can stay with their families and give back to the United States of America — their home and the only country many of them have ever known.

I said before today that President Trump is increasingly unfit to be president, and this decision, following on the heels of Charlottesville and the pardoning of Joe Arpaio, is further evidence. It reneges on a promise we made to these kids, puts their future in jeopardy and already is causing fear among families and throughout communities. The decision also spells disaster for our economy: forcing these driven young people out of the workforce could cost us 700,000 jobs and $460.3 billion in economic output over the next 10 years, not to mention a $24.6 billion hit in lost Medicare and Social Security contributions.

The Dreamers’ future is now in the hands of Republican leadership in Congress, and I will fight tooth and nail to defend them and protect families. Many Republican officials have said they support Dreamers, so now is the time for Congress to come together to find a permanent solution that will allow these young people to realize their dreams of succeeding and giving back to this country. And I urge everyone who depends on this program.

U.S. Representative Steve Pearce issued the following statement:

We in New Mexico understand the harmful and damaging effects that temporary patchwork solutions to our nation’s immigration system can have on families. This kind of flawed reform fails to provide certainty and leaves millions with an illusion of hope. Since arriving in Congress, I have fought to make reforms to our nation’s immigration policies so that the system is fair and just for all. The truth is, the current DACA program is a short-term solution that does not achieve these goals. It is only a temporary fix for millions of young adults who have only ever known the United States as home. I will continue to work with my colleagues in Congress for fairness, justice, and family unity, and will fight for a permanent change for DREAMERS that ensures both current and future generations do not face the same challenges and burdens.

U.S. Representative Ben Ray Luján issued the following statement:

DACA has enabled nearly 800,000 talented young people to contribute more fully to this country. They’re nurses, engineers, small business owners, our friends and our neighbors. These young people came to the United States under the age of 16, some of them only a year or two old. They grew up in the U.S., going to our public schools, singing the Star Spangled Banner, pledging allegiance to the only flag they’ve ever known: the American flag.

Since 2012, the 9,000 dreamers in New Mexico have not had to live in fear of deportation.  If the Trump administration moves ahead with this mean-spirited attempt to repeal DACA, those young people and their families will once again risk being torn apart.

I will oppose any attempt by the Trump administration to end DACA and rip these young people away from the country in which they have grown up and that they love and respect. Tearing families apart to achieve a political end does not reflect American values and will not solve our immigration problems.

ASUNM Resolution Below:

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