Former President Barack Obama has slammed President Donald Trump’s decision to rescind an immigration order that protects some children of undocumented immigrants from deportation.
In a statement released on Tuesday shortly after President Donald Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions made the announcement, Obama called the move “cruel” and “self-defeating.”
Obama criticized his successor in the statement released on Facebook, though he did not mention him by name. The former president insisted that the move to rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program was not legally required.
Obama wrote in the lengthy post: “To target these young people is wrong — because they have done nothing wrong. It is self-defeating — because they want to start new businesses, staff our labs, serve in our military, and otherwise contribute to the country we love. And it is cruel.”
He added: “It’s a political decision, and a moral question. Whatever concerns or complaints Americans may have about immigration in general, we shouldn’t threaten the future of this group of young people who are here through no fault of their own, who pose no threat, who are not taking away anything from the rest of us.”
It is now up to Congress to determine a legislative future for the program, and Obama said he hoped lawmakers pass a bill allowing those eligible for the DACA program to remain in the United States. He framed the decision as a question of “basic decency.”
He wrote: “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.”
Former President Bill Clinton joined Obama in calling Trump’s decision “cruel.” He called on Congress to act immediately to “protect their status and pave the way for their future and America’s future.”
Clinton said in a statement on Tuesday: “It’s wrong because it’s bad policy that solves no pressing problem and raises new ones. It’s wrong because it’s irresponsible, passing the buck instead of offering sensible solutions for immigration reform. Most of all, it’s wrong because it’s cruel to send these young people to places many of them have never lived and do not know. For them this is home. The United States is their home.”
Former Vice President Joe Biden also criticized Trump’s move on Twitter.
“Brought by parents, these children had no choice in coming here. Now they’ll be sent to countries they’ve never known. Cruel. Not America,” Biden tweeted.