Former President Barack Obama released a rare public statement on Tuesday, condemning his successor for moving to end one of his landmark programs. Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced on Tuesday that the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program would be rescinded.
In his response on Facebook, Obama defended DACA and called President Trump’s decision to pull it back a “political move.”
“And because it made no sense to expel talented, driven, patriotic young people from the only country they know solely because of the actions of their parents, my administration acted to lift the shadow of deportation from these young people, so that they could continue to contribute to our communities and our country,” Obama wrote. “We did so based on the well-established legal principle of prosecutorial discretion, deployed by Democratic and Republican presidents alike, because our immigration enforcement agencies have limited resources, and it makes sense to focus those resources on those who come illegally to this country to do us harm.”
DACA was implemented by President Obama through executive order in 2012 to help people who immigrated to the United States at young ages stay in the country without judicial harm.
During his speech on Tuesday, Attorney General Sessions said that the country must set a limit for immigrants coming to the U.S. each year. According to President Obama, he will be among the many Americans who will stand against such a decision.
“Ultimately, this is about basic decency,” President Obama said of DACA. “This is about whether we are a people who kick hopeful young strivers out of America, or whether we treat them the way we’d want our own kids to be treated. It’s about who we are as a people – and who we want to be.”
President Obama’s statement on DACA is the first time he has publicly advocated a political position since he wrote about President Donald Trump’s attempt to repeal the Affordable Care Act.