Reactions to President Trump’s decision to rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program rippled across social media Tuesday, prompting responses from Georgia officials on both sides of the aisle.
Shortly after U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions confirmed that the Department of Homeland Security will immediately stop accepting applications to DACA, Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed tweeted his support for affected DREAMers:
The mayor released a longer statement Tuesday, in part saying,
“Atlanta is a city of dreamers, where people from all walks of life, from all backgrounds, can bring and build their dreams. President Trump’s assault on DACA is an attack on the American dream and all who worked hard to achieve it.
Eliminating DACA is a shameful abdication of moral leadership. By ending this program, the President is breaking a promise that the federal government made to the nearly 800,000 young people in our country who stepped forward, passed background checks and have been granted permission to live and work legally in the United States."
There are more than 24,000 DACA recipients in Georgia, according to the state ACLU chapter, which condemned the president's decision.
Current DACA recipients will not be affected until March 2018, giving Congress six months to pass new legislation. Yet, Rep. Hank Johnson (R-GA) said Congress must move immediately to protect DREAMers.
The Congressman, who represents Georgia’s 4th district, had strong words for the president’s decision.
“By rescinding DACA, President Trump is sending a clear and unambiguous message to his Steve Bannon-alt right supporters that they have a friend in the White House,” Johnson said in a statement. “This rescission is consistent with President Trump’s despicable pardoning of convicted civil rights violator Sheriff Joe Arpaio, which came on the heels of the President’s reference to Nazi, Klan and alt-right sympathizers in Charlottesville as 'good people.' President Trump did the wrong thing in failing to protect our DACA youth, and history will judge him harshly. Congress must now move immediately to pass legislation that protects these courageous, patriotic DREAMers.”
While Rep. Barry Loudermilk (R-GA) representing Georgia's 11th district alternately showed support for Trump and efforts to overhaul immigration.
“Congress must secure our borders, overhaul the convoluted immigration system, and effectively enforce the laws. Tweaks by Congress, and executive orders by various administrations, have created an immigration policy that favors illegal immigration and punishes those who want to legally come here to work,” Loudermilk said in a statement. “President Barack Obama's executive order was outside the constitutional authority of the executive branch.”
Congressman Doug Collins (R-GA), Georgia's 9th district representative, also aligned with the president, saying undocumented young people previously were "saddled" with "ambiguity regarding their immigration status."
“Americans have always been champions of legal immigration and the rule of law. President Trump’s decision to rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals memo demonstrates his understanding of the law, to which we are all bound. Unfortunately, the previous administration disregarded the law in a 2012 decision that remains unconstitutional,” Collins said, adding he looks forward to working in Congress on immigration reform.
Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal's office released the following when 11Alive asked about his stance on Tuesday's DACA decision:
"Georgia will continue to follow the rule of law as we have always done."