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Cheers, condemnation on Trump DACA decision

Sept. 5, 2017 Updated Tue., Sept. 5, 2017 at 8:15 p.m.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions makes a statement at the Justice Department in Washington, Tuesday, Sept. 5, 2017, on President Barack Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA program. President Donald Trump’s administration will “wind down” a program protecting hundreds of thousands of young immigrants who were brought into the country illegally as children, Attorney General Jeff Sessions declared Tuesday. (Susan Walsh / AP)
Attorney General Jeff Sessions makes a statement at the Justice Department in Washington, Tuesday, Sept. 5, 2017, on President Barack Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA program. President Donald Trump’s administration will “wind down” a program protecting hundreds of thousands of young immigrants who were brought into the country illegally as children, Attorney General Jeff Sessions declared Tuesday. (Susan Walsh / AP)
By Jim Camden and Betsy Z. Russell The Spokesman-Review

Reaction to the announced end to the DACA program ranged from applause to condemnation from Northwest lawmakers Tuesday. But they seemed to agree it could spark congressional action on immigration.

Rep. Raul Labrador, R-Idaho, who has consistently opposed the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, said it could create “leverage” for larger immigration reform which should include money for a border wall and stronger enforcement.

“I applaud President Trump for respecting the Constitution and keeping a campaign promise,” Labrador said in a news release.

Sen. Patty Murray, D-Washington, called it “shameful,” adding it turns its back on people brought to the country as children and now know no other home.

“Once again, President Trump has let the voices of division and hate win the day in the White House, defying all common sense and compassion,” she said, in a press release. Congress must now find a “permanent solution” for those people that allows them to stay in the country, she added.

In a speech on the Senate floor Tuesday, Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Washington, called Trump’s decision “misguided” and one she had trouble believing.

“The president’s decision to end DACA runs counter to the long-standing and proud history in our state of welcoming immigrants,” she said.

Murray, Cantwell and the six Democratic members of Washington’s House delegation, sent Trump a letter expressing “profound disappointment” at his decision, which they said would be felt in the state’s economy and the nation as a whole.

“We urge you to take immediate steps to reverse course and lessen the consequences of your decision,” the letter said.

Rep. Dan Newhouse, R-Washington, joined with other House Republicans last week in a letter urging House Speaker Paul Ryan to come up with a legislative solution that would give certainty to people in the DACA program.

Obama’s “unilateral executive action” was never the long-term answer, Newhouse said in a press release, and Congress must act now to protect children brought to the United States “through no fault of their own.” He added he’s met outstanding young people in his Central Washington district who are in the program.

“I believe our borders must be secure and our laws upheld but we must also understand that these young people grew up in America and know no other life,” Newhouse said.

Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Washington, said she didn’t agree with President Barack Obama’s decision to enact DACA through executive order.

“But we must protect children who are already here in this country and those who are currently protected under DACA,” McMorris Rodgers said, adding she’s committed to working in the House to provide “long-term certainty” for people in the program.

Sen. Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, agreed, saying reforms must be done through a public process.

“There is an urgent need for Congress to enact rational, comprehensive immigration policy,” Crapo said. “Today’s announcement by the administration returns the decision-making for immigration policy, including the DACA program, to the people’s representatives in Congress for action.”

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