GOP Gov. John Kasich of Ohio has blasted President Donald Trump's decision to rescind the Obama administration's Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program and has called for Congress to pass legislation to preserve protections for undocumented immigrants who arrived in the U.S. when they were children. Kasich added that his state would welcome DACA recipients, also known as Dreamers.
On Sept. 5, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced that Trump would end DACA, immediately rescinding an executive action by former President Barack Obama and phasing out the program over the course of six months, Business Insider reports. The program is currently scheduled to be fully dismantled by March 5, 2018.
DACA, which was implemented in 2012, gave undocumented immigrants who were brought to the U.S. before they were 16 years old the opportunity to obtain a temporary work permit, a driver's license, lawful employment and the ability to enroll in college. The program also shielded recipients from deportation unless they broke the law. Dreamers had to turn over their information to the federal government to receive those protections and they were not given a path to citizenship.
Many DACA recipients were brought to the U.S. at a very young age and are wholly unfamiliar with their origin country.
On Sept. 6, Kasich asserted during an interview that Congress should prioritize legislation that would maintain Dreamers' protections before the DACA program lapses.
"Congress has six months, it should take six hours to get this done, and the way I think they need to do it, they need reasonable Republicans and Democrats from the middle and build out a solution to this," Kasich told CBS News.
The Ohio governor added that any congressional solution should grant Dreamers "permanent resident status and they ought to stay and be able to contribute."
Following Sessions' announcement, several immigration lawyers have disclosed that their clients are fearful for their futures and worry that the information they turned over to the government may be used against them.
"They're in panic mode ... They're wondering: 'Now that I'm no longer protected, can ICE now come and find me?'" said Reaz Jafri, an attorney who represents some DACA recipients."Because ICE now knows where I live, where I work."
Kasich stated that Dreamers were welcome in his state.
"If the dreamers want to go somewhere and live, come to Ohio, we want all the immigrants to come to Ohio, we know how much immigrants contribute," Kasich continued.
On June 29, Attorney General Ken Paxton of Texas and eight other state attorneys general informed the Department of Justice that they would continue an ongoing lawsuit against DACA if Trump did not terminate the program by Sept. 5. The attorneys general asserted that it was illegal to grant work authorization to people without congressional approval, the Washington Examiner reports.
Kasich asserted that Trump should have battled Paxton and his colleagues in court instead of rescinding Obama's executive order: "If I were president I would have told those states: 'Let's go to court, let's get it done, you're intent on shipping kids out of here? Alright sue me, because I'm going to expose you for what you are, because you're putting kids at risk, it's outrageous states are doing this.'"
On Sept. 5, Trump indicated that he wanted Congress to pass legislation that would protect Dreamers.
"I have a love for these people and hopefully now Congress will be able to help them and do it properly," Trump stated during a White House event.
Meanwhile, CNN obtained White House talking points memo for internal staff that stated: "The Department of Homeland Security urges DACA recipients to use the time remaining on their work authorizations to prepare for and arrange their departure from the United States ... or to apply for other immigration benefits for which they may be eligible."