PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Some local politicians are weighing in on President Donald Trump’s decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.
Rep. Donald Norcross, D-N.J., said Tuesday he believes DACA should be resolved under a broader comprehensive immigration reform bill.
“We as Congress and the president have to come together to create a pathway for citizenship for those who play by the rules. Those children who have come here through not fault of their own are left in the status of, quite frankly, they don’t know now,” he said. “So they’ll be hiding in the shadows.”
Norcross is hoping a six-month deadline will provide the sense of urgency Democrats and Republicans need to pass bipartisan legislation.
Norcross is prepared to debate the issue with 434 of his House colleagues.
“All of us here are not more than two generations away from being those immigrants,” said Norcross.
Rep. Pat Meehan, R-Pa., also said Tuesday he never believed the issue should have been handled by executive order.
“That opened the door before, I think we were close to a solution,” he said. “This will put it back in Congress and I’m hopeful we can get to a solution.”
However, Meehan did say DACA kids should not be punished and he’s confident they won’t be, as he feels a compromise down the road.
“I have a sense of confidence we’ll be able to get something resolved,” he said.
Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., was asked about ending DACA at a public meeting last week and expressed sympathy for those who would be hurt by it. That’s around 800,000 people.
“It’s a sympathetic group of people and we should find a way to deal with it,” he said.
In a statement Tuesday, Toomey said that Obama did not have the authority to create the DACA program.
“Children who were brought to the United States illegally, at a young age, are not at fault and deserve our support. However, President Obama did not have the legal authority to create the DACA program and to ignore enforcement of existing immigration law,” said Toomey.
Sen. Bob Casey said Trump made the wrong move.
“This is an insult to those young people. It’s an insult to our country and our values,” said Casey.
Obama allowed deferrals for immigrants brought here as children and raised as Americans, because Congress failed to act on legislation that would solidified their status.
Congressman Dwight Evans is among those who think DACA was working.
“The president now drops the onus back on us in Congress, we have the right and obligation to fix the problem, he said.
Evans says he also welcomes the chance for a more permanent solution.
“I believe both parties will realize this is a mistake and we, Democrats and Republicans have to come together and fix this problem,” he said.
Congressman Bob Brady has served through several failed attempts to pass the DREAM act, which would provide a path to citizenship, but he hasn’t given up.
“We may not pass the Dream Act the way it’s written, but I’m sure we’ll find some type of solution,” he said.
Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney called the decision a “tragedy.”
“Ending the DACA program is not only cruel, it is detrimental to our health as a nation and inherently un-American. Those who have benefitted from the DACA program came here with their parents searching for a better life and more opportunities. They escaped violence, natural disasters and hunger,” said Kenney.