(NEWS CENTER) — Several political officials from Maine offered their reactions Tuesday to the Trump administration's announcement that it would soon end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
Founded through executive order by the Obama administration in June 2012, the immigration policy has allowed hundreds of thousands of young people who were brought to the United States illegally as children to remain in the country.
As NBC News explains, applicants cannot have serious criminal histories, and must have arrived in the U.S. before 2007, when they were under the age of 16. DACA recipients can live and work legally in the U.S. for renewable two-year periods.
Jeff Sessions: It is my duty to ensure that laws of the U.S. are enforced and that Constitutional order is upheld https://t.co/jGnc8cQGZA— NBC Politics (@NBCPolitics) September 5, 2017
Sen. Collins, Rep. Pingree and Portland Mayor Ethan Strimling provided the following statements:
Congress must act quickly to protect those who were brought to the U.S. as children & in many cases know only our country as home. 1/2— Sen. Susan Collins (@SenatorCollins) September 5, 2017
It is not right to hold children responsible for the actions of their parents. 2/2— Sen. Susan Collins (@SenatorCollins) September 5, 2017
Again POTUS has created a crisis that Congress must solve. My colleagues on both sides of the aisle urged him not to walk away from #DACA.— Chellie Pingree (@chelliepingree) September 5, 2017
We must work together in order to clean up his mess. Putting 800k young people enrolled in #DACA into limbo is irresponsible & inhumane.— Chellie Pingree (@chelliepingree) September 5, 2017
Rep. Poliquin released a lengthy statement Tuesday afternoon:
“Congress has waited far too long to act on serious border security and to implement an effective system to control who enters our county. It’s the federal government’s responsibility to establish immigration laws that work for current American families while welcoming those wanting to become law-abiding citizens of the United States.
“America is a country of immigrants, like my own family. However, no President can simply side-step Congress and create immigration laws on his or her own. The Constitution is clear that the Legislative branch is responsible for passing laws to be presented to the President for signature. The Obama Administration acted illegally in creating the DACA program in 2012. I strongly opposed this action—joining a resolution condemning it—because it was unconstitutional and a violation of executive power. Now, the current Administration is facing legal challenges from several states if the DACA policy continues.
“As someone who raised my son mostly as a single dad, I am particularly sensitive to the fact that a young child has little or no control over the movements of his or her family. A child should not be held responsible for the actions of parents who chose to break our immigration laws.
“There are nearly 800,000 people in the current DACA program, including 35,000 in New England. Some of these individuals grew up believing they were Americans with no knowledge of their parents’ actions. I believe if these people have been fully law-abiding members of our society, they should be protected from deportation through legislative action by Congress. At the same time, we need to continue to secure and control our borders. We need to continue our work to end illegal immigration.
“Congress must act to improve our border security; to find a solution to address those well-meaning individuals now caught in DACA status; and to update our immigration policies which reduce incentives to break the law. America can continue to be a nation of laws, border security, and controlled immigration.”
Sen. King issued the following statement in opposition to President Trump's DACA announcement:
"Those protected under DACA came here as children with their parents – at no fault of their own – and have been here for years and years. In that time, they’ve worked to provide for their families, pay taxes, and contribute to the American economy. While I am disappointed the Administration has chosen to rescind this program, I am hopeful that Congress will take this opportunity to work together and find a long-term legislative solution that reflects our country's values and supports driven young people looking to work and live in the country they call home."