The Trump Administration announced Tuesday morning that it will end the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which temporarily protected immigrants who were brought to the United States illegally when they were children, with a gradual winding down of the law so Congress can have time to pass legislation.
In a statement read to the press, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced that DACA was being "rescinded" as it was viewed as an unlawful unilateral action on the part of the previous administration.
"This policy was implemented unilaterally to great controversy and legal concern after Congress rejected legislative proposals to extend similar benefits on numerous occasions to this same group of illegal aliens," stated Sessions.
"In other words, the executive branch, through DACA, deliberately sought to achieve what the legislative branch specifically refused to authorize on multiple occasions. Such an open-ended circumvention of immigration laws was an unconstitutional exercise of authority by the Executive Branch."
Many have already commented on the announcement. Here, in no particular order, are five reactions to the gradual elimination of DACA.
The Reverend Samuel Rodriguez, president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference who is on President Donald Trump's evangelical advisory board, said in a statement that he was disappointed by the decision.
"I am disappointed that these protections are ending and I've expressed that disappointment to the White House directly," stated Rodriguez.
"I also understand why they chose this course of action. If the fate of DAPA is any indication, then it was only a matter of time before DACA would face a similar fate in the court sand, in fact, the entire program could be ceased immediately by a court order rather than being phased out."
Rodriguez went on to demand swift action from Congress, saying that he and his organization "do not intend on letting a single member of Congress have a good night's rest until they guarantee our young people can rest easy."
Franciscan Action Network
The Franciscan Action Network released a statement denouncing Trump's plan to phase out the DACA program, arguing that the measure had broad support.
"A vast majority of Americans, both Republicans and Democrats, support DACA, including the U.S. Bishops Conference," stated the Network.
"By rescinding it, President Trump is betraying the values and teachings of the Scriptures on which he placed his hand while taking his oath of office ..."
The Franciscans went on to compare Trump to Pontius Pilate, stating that like the New Testament Roman official, "Trump has tried to wash his hands of responsibility when he could have and should have kept DACA in place."
The National Association of Evangelicals
The National Association of Evangelicals released a statement urging Congress to act swiftly to replace the rescinded DACA during the time allotted for the phasing out of the program.
"We pledge our prayers and support to House Speaker Ryan and Senate Leader McConnell as they build consensus on legislation that can pass the Congress and be signed by President Trump," stated NAE President Leith Anderson.
"Americans may have a variety of views on the broader questions of immigration policy, but most agree that those who were brought to this country as children — and who have grown up here — should not be punished for the actions of their parents."
Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)
The nation's largest Presbyterian denomination denounced the announcement of DACA being rescinded. Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) Stated Clerk J. Herbert Nelson, II wrote a letter to President Trump condemning his decision.
"DACA has provided safety and protection for approximately 800,000 individuals from detention and deportation. The program offered empowerment to those made vulnerable by a failure in our laws," wrote Nelson.
"Your decision now pushes these empowered and responsible individuals into making unthinkable choices about how to maintain their families. It is an attempt to return them to vulnerability."
Russell Moore, president of the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission and noted critic of Donald Trump, tweeted out a call for Congress to pass legislation protecting the children of undocumented immigrants.
"Congress should do the right thing and provide a solution for those who were brought here by parents as children," posted Moore on Twitter.
"And churches will be here to speak hope to children now thrown into fear and insecurity about their families and their futures."