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Pennsylvania leaders respond to Trump administration's DACA rescind

| Wednesday, Sept. 6, 2017, 12:54 a.m.

Here's a roundup of how political, religious and academic leaders around the region responded to the Trump administration's push to rescind DACA:

“The President's decision is ethically, legally and economically wrong. It puts the futures of nearly 1 million people at risk, more than 90 percent of whom are valuable members of the nation's workforce. It further squanders two centuries of trust in the American ideal, and the unalienable rights of all to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. It is reckless and unforgivable.”

— Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto, Democrat

“The Trump administration's action to end this unconstitutional program restores the rule of law and allows Congress to reclaim its constitutional authority to set immigration policy. Immigration reform begins with securing our borders and establishing a functioning entry and exit system.

“We can then begin solving the challenges of our broken immigration system, including addressing the status of children who were brought here through no fault of their own by their parents.”

— U.S. Rep. Keith Rothfus, R-Sewickley

“We should be protecting these kids, not throwing them out. This is a cruel blow to the hope that many young adult immigrants in our country have to enjoy the freedom to work and study and plan for their future. We see the economic benefits that the immigrant community brings to our region. ...

“This should not be a partisan issue, but one that recognizes the effect that the end of DACA has on these young people.”

— Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald, Democrat

“There are 5,889 ‘Dreamers' in Pennsylvania who contribute to our economy, our military and quality of life. They came here through no fault of their own as young children in the care of their parents. They relied on a commitment from the U.S. government and should be able to depend on that promise — not live in fear. I renew my call on Congress to finally pass comprehensive immigration reform and border security.”

— Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro, Democrat

“I don't understand why you would want to punish children of immigrants for whatever their parents may or may not have done. I don't think that's who we are as Pennsylvanians. I don't think that's who we are as Americans, and I would urge the president to rethink that. And certainly urge Congress not to go along with any effort to take away the DACA.”

— Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf, Democrat

“President Trump's action today is an insult to America and our values. This action is profoundly unjust, immoral and without regard for basic fairness. Tearing apart the lives of these young people will make our nation less safe, and harm our economy.

“According to the CATO Institute, deporting Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients would cost more than $60 billion and would result in a $280 billion reduction in economic growth over the next decade. The Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy estimates that the 1.3 million young people enrolled in or eligible for DACA pay $2 billion each year in state and local taxes.”

— U.S. Sen. Bob Casey, D-Scranton

“Children who were brought to the United States illegally, at a young age, are not at fault and deserve our support. However, President Obama did not have the legal authority to create the DACA program and to ignore enforcement of existing immigration law. President Trump's decision to end this program, while giving Congress six months to come up with a legislative solution, is the right step.

“Congress needs to pass legislation to accommodate these young people while simultaneously addressing the other challenges within our deeply broken immigration system, including stopping dangerous sanctuary cities, strengthening border security, and cracking down on companies that hire people who are here illegally.”

— U.S. Senator Pat Toomey, R-Lehigh Valley

“The president's action today is extremely reckless and puts hundreds of thousands of people at risk. This action will have a profoundly negative effect on these young people's lives, our communities, and the economy.

“I will certainly do all that I can to protect DACA and the DREAMers who call our country home. Congress should pass the Dream Act immediately.”

— U.S. Rep. Mike Doyle, D-Forest Hills

“As a leader in Southwestern Pennsylvania, I ask everyone to urge the president to continue DACA, a vital program for older teens and young adults who were brought to this country without documents when they were children. ...

“Please immediately contact President Trump, U.S. Sens. Pat Toomey and Bob Casey, as well as your congressional representative, and ask them to insist that DACA remains the policy of our nation. ... Do it for the dreamers. Do it for Jesus.”

— Diocese of Pittsburgh Bishop David Zubik

“Five years ago, America made a promise to young immigrants who arrived as children and grew up in our communities. ...

“Beyond the moral obligation, taking action against immigrants who arrived as children and are now valuable members of our society could have a devastating effect on the economy. Eliminating DACA is estimated to have a $323 million negative impact on Pennsylvania alone (value based on lost taxes, earnings and contributions to community and nation's GDP from this Center for American Progress survey in August).”

— Pennsylvania Auditor-General Eugene DePasquale

“While CMU does not have a large population directly covered by DACA, an action like this that would deny even one of our students a CMU education and membership in our community is deeply distressing. And the potential fate of the children and young adults covered by DACA, who have so much to offer, is morally troubling to all of us.”

— Carnegie Mellon University Interim President Farnam Jahanian

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