U.S. President Donald Trump has scrapped the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which was launched by the Obama administration to protect illegal child immigrants from deportation, despite pleas from pastors to show empathy to the so-called "Dreamers" who have benefited from it.
On Sept. 5, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced that the DACA program would come to an end, saying it was an unconstitutional reach by former President Barack Obama. The announcement drew condemnation from Democrats, businessmen, religious leaders, and politicians, Reuters detailed.
In a written statement, President Trump denounced the DACA program as an "amnesty-first approach" that favored illegal immigrants. Although the fate of the so-called Dreamer immigrants is now in question, the Republican leader reminded the people that their own citizens must be prioritized. He also posted a message on Twitter that told lawmakers that they only have six months to "legalize" the DACA program or he would review the issue.
"I do not favor punishing children, most of whom are now adults, for the actions of their parents," said Trump in his written statement. "But we must also recognize that we are nation of opportunity because we are a nation of laws."
In response to the announcement, Obama called on Congress to protect the Dreamer immigrants and defended DACA. The Trump administration, on the other hand, said the change would only take effect beginning March 5.
Prior to the announcement, pastors who stood by Trump after the backlash he earned over the Charlottesville issue pleaded with him to show empathy to Dreamer immigrants. Last week, Pastor Jentezen Franklin urged the president to understand the situation of young immigrants who would be affected by the change, The Washington Post reported.
Other Hispanic, black, and white evangelical pastors also spoke to Trump during the meeting and tried to explain to him what it was like to be a minority in the U.S. Despite the talk, the president still decided to scrap the DACA program if it was not legalized in six months.