Wisconsin Senators Support Protecting Young Immigrants

Trump Announces Changes To DACA Program From Obama Administration

Wisconsin’s U.S. senators say they both support protecting immigrants who were brought into the country as children.

President Donald Trump on Tuesday began dismantling the government program that protects immigrants who were brought into the country illegally as children.

Republican Sen. Ron Johnson said Trump has “given Congress six months to get our act together” to protect the immigrants, secure the border and “fix” the immigration system. Johnson said he looks forward to doing that with bipartisan support.

Stay informed on the latest news

Sign up for WPR’s email newsletter.

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

The Trump administration is giving Congress six months to create a legislative fix before the government stops renewing permits for people already covered by the program, according to The Associated Press. In an announcement Tuesday morning, Attorney General Jeff Sessions called the Obama-era program a breach of executive power.

“If we are to further our goal of strengthening the constitutional order and the rule of law in America, the Department of Justice cannot defend this overreach,” Sessions said.

Democratic Sen. Tammy Baldwin said the program has worked well and Trump’s action “breaks a promise we have made to nearly 800,000 young people.” She said Congress must provide those immigrants a chance to succeed, and said Trump’s move is wrong and “we must right this wrong.”

House Speaker Paul Ryan said he hopes the House and Senate will find consensus on a permanent legislative solution.

The program, called Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, is commonly referred to as DACA, and was created in 2012. It has provided nearly 800,000 young immigrants a reprieve from deportation and given the immigrants the chance to work legally in the United States through two-year, renewable work permits, AP reported. It also lets them apply for scholarships.

Carlos Monroy, a culinary arts student at Madison Area Technical College, is a recipient of DACA, and has a full scholarship to MATC. He said he’s hoping to also major in business management, and one day, open his own restaurant.

Monroy said he was shocked when his mother told him about Trump’s announcement. Although he said he’s been preparing for this, he never thought it would actually happen.

“I’m don’t know if I’m going to continue to go to school,” he said. “So it’s really important for people to get a better job. It’s a lot of, a lot of doors are going to be closed in my face.”

Monroy, like other DREAMers, face academic repercussions if their scholarships or educational opportunities are lost.

The University of Wisconsin-Madison issued a statement responding to Trump’s announcement, referencing the university’s continued support of students pursuing higher education.

UW-Madison spokeswoman Meredith McGlone said, “The chancellor is hoping that the (Trump) administration and our congressional representatives will work to find a more balanced approach that we think will be fairer to the students who are here.”

Along with backing from the university’s administration, UW-Madison students can seek services from the school’s multicultural center and student organizations, like DREAMERS of UW-Madison.

State schools superintendent and Democratic gubernatorial candidate Tony Evers criticized Gov. Scott Walker for supporting the end of DACA.

Evers said it will hurt children who have spent most of their lives in the United States.

“He and the attorney general really worked to make sure this day happened with president Trump ending those opportunities for young people and their parents to stay in this country legally,” Evers said.

Evers told reporters at a back-to-school event at Milwaukee’s Walt Whitman school that people covered under DACA work and pay taxes and should be allowed to stay in the United Staets.

But Walker said policies like DACA are federal issues and that governors don’t have authority over immigration.

“If he or anybody else wants to run for federal office, they certainly can, but that’s not a state issue,” Walker said later Tuesday at a factory expansion groundbreaking in Sheboygan Falls when asked about Evers’ comments.

Under the changes announced Tuesday, new DACA applications will be halted, AP reported. People with permits whose renewals are set to expire between now and March 5, 2018, will be able to re-apply, but they need to submit their applications by Oct. 5, according to Department of Homeland Security officials. No permits will be revoked before their expiration dates, and applications already in the works will be processed, they said.

DACA applies to anyone born on or after June 16, 1981 and was brought to the U.S. illegally before the age of 16.

DHS refers to the changes announced Tuesday as an “orderly phase out” on the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services website outlining the announcement.

Editor’s Note: This story was last updated at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 5, 2017.