At News Conference, Cooper Criticizes President’s DACA Decision
NASHVILLE – Surrounded by DREAMers and other leaders of Nashville’s vibrant immigrant community, U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper (TN-5) today criticized President Trump’s decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, citing the innocence, hard work and future of those affected.
“You were brought here through no fault of your own,” Rep. Cooper said this morning at Casa Azafrán. “It’s not your fault you didn’t have paperwork when you were 2 or 3 years old. But you’ve done everything right. You’re working hard in school, you have bright futures, and we want your future to be here in the United States of America. … I am thankful for your presence in this country. I am thankful for your innocence and your hard work.”
Former President Barack Obama started DACA after Congress failed to agree on comprehensive immigration reform. The program has granted permits to an estimated 750,000 young people – known as “DREAMers” – who arrived in America as children. Immediately before Rep. Cooper spoke at Casa Azafrán, President Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced that DACA would be terminated unless Congress acts on a legislative solution within six months.
Rep. Cooper said there was “good news” and “hope,” pointing out that Tennessee’s two U.S. senators, Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker, supported comprehensive immigration reform as recently as 2013. But Rep. Cooper said the president’s decision unnecessarily places innocent young people in “a terrible limbo” and squanders a variety of benefits America otherwise would enjoy.
“To throw that away, as the president’s policy is suggesting, would be just shooting ourselves in the foot,” Rep. Cooper said. “America needs you.”
As the only member of Tennessee’s congressional delegation to vote for the DREAM Act in 2010, Rep. Cooper continues to favor a long-term legislative solution and a path to citizenship for DREAMers.