Mercy Sister Rita Parks stood near the large crowd in front of the White House that was almost silenced after US Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced shortly after 11am on 5th September that the Trump administration was ending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, programme.
“I’m astounded, saddened. I saw their faces, the tears and their dreams shattered,” said Sister Parks, of some of the DACA recipients nearby who were trying to take in the recent news. Many of them, the majority in their 20s, had just heard what they didn’t want to believe: that the programme that grants them a work permit and reprieve from deportation, is months away from disappearing. Some, like Catholic DACA recipient Claudia Quinones, who was in the Washington crowd, had held out hope up until the moment of the announcement that President Donald Trump would make a decision with “heart,” as he had earlier promised regarding the programme that allows beneficiaries like her, brought to the US as children without legal documentation, certain protections.
Instead, his attorney general said that by giving job permits to DACA recipients, jobs were “denied … to hundreds of thousands of Americans by allowing those same jobs to go to illegal aliens” meaning the young migrants.
Sessions also criticised the programme, calling it “unilateral executive amnesty” and said it was responsible for “a surge of unaccompanied minors on the southern border that yielded terrible humanitarian consequences.” However, many organisations have attributed the surge of unaccompanied minors to scaling violence in Central America, not to the DACA programme.
Picture: Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals supporters demonstrate near the White House in Washington. Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced on Tuesday that the DACA programme is “being rescinded” by President Donald Trump, leaving some 800,000 youth, brought illegally to the US as minors, in peril of deportation and of losing permits that allow them to work.