Democrats are reaching out to President Barack Obama to do whatever he can before leaving office to protect the 740,000 Dreamers that were granter temporary work permits from possible deportation under the new administration.
On Thursday November 17th, Representatives, Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.), Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-Calif.) and Luis Gutiérrez (D-Ill.) asked the President to give pardons to Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals(DACA) recipients, a lot of them are in fear that they might get deported with Trump being in office.
Since the program was created by Obama using executive authority, there’s nothing that can stop Trump from taking it away from thousands of immigrants using the same power. This has a lot of Dreamers fearing that they are under increased threat of being deported since the administration would have access to their personal information. Although Trump has said he would focus on deporting convicted criminals.
“Dreamers face uncertainty, fear and stress, leading to psychological issues including depression, anxiety and an increased risk of suicide,” Lofgren, Roybal-Allard and Gutiérrez wrote in a letter to the president arguing pardons would be possible.
“Indeed, we have received reports of Dreamers who have taken their own lives as they are now facing the threat posed by the incoming president,” the letter continues. “Using your pardon authority, which is not subject to reversal, to protect these young people who relied on the program you implemented is quite literally a matter of life and death.”
Although Obama can’t do anything to stop Trump from taking DACA away, he can protect the recipients from the risk of deportation.
A White House official said Thursday that Obama “takes the executive clemency power seriously” and does not generally “comment on the likelihood of whether a specific pardon may be granted, should one be requested.”
“We note that the clemency power could not give legal status to any undocumented individual,” the official said. “As we have repeatedly said for years, only Congress can create legal status for undocumented individuals.”
Obama said on Monday that he would “urge the president-elect and the incoming administration to think long and hard before they are endangering that status of what, for all practical purposes, are American kids.”
“By definition, if they’re part of this program, they are solid, wonderful young people of good character,” he said at a press conference. “And it is my strong belief that the majority of the American people would not want to see suddenly those kids have to start hiding again.”