Tennessee congressmen said they support President Donald Trump’s decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program with a six-month window before its full conclusion. The Tennessee congressional support came after the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities (a council of which Milligan is a part) sent a letter to the president asking him not to end the program until after a replacement is in place.

“America is a nation of laws,” Rep. Phil Roe, R-Johnson City, said in a statement to The Stampede. “President Trump is right that we shouldn’t leave it to each administration to decide which laws it wants to enforce.”

The DACA program was enacted through executive order by former President Barack Obama in 2012 to provide people brought to the U.S. illegally as children a way to apply for temporary protection from deportation. The order came after immigration reform failed in Congress.

The announcement to rescind DACA came a week after the CCCU sent a letter to the White House asking for an extension. Milligan has notified its DACA students of the program’s imminent end.

“We urge you to extend the DACA program,” the CCCU letter said. “Preserving DACA status for more than 750,000 individuals while your administration and Congress work on a permanent solution is the most humane way to respond to the situation these young people find themselves in.”

Tennessee’s U.S. congressmen, all Republicans, agree that immigration reform should come from legislative action.

“President Trump uniquely can lead a revision of our immigration laws that secures our borders, improves our system of legal immigration and solves problems such as the 800,000 children who grew up here but were brought here illegally,” Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Maryville, said in a statement. “I voted for such a law in 2013 and am willing to work with the president to do that again.”

Alexander continued by saying the 2013 law he supported would have given people currently covered by DACA the opportunity to apply for permanent resident status with some conditions. Those conditions would have been a high school diploma and two years of college or four years of military service.

Sen. Bob Corker, R-Chattanooga, said in a statement, “The president is right to want this issue to be resolved legislatively. Hopefully, while addressing it, we also will deal with a myriad of other issues that need to be corrected with our broken immigration system, including enhancing enforcement and security measures.”

In the letter to the president, the CCCU said it supports immigration reforms that will provide a path to citizenship or legal residency.

“This lack of legal status and the significant uncertainty it creates prohibits these students from using their God-given talents, abilities and skills, and it squanders the significant educational investment our country has already made so that they can contribute to communities,” the CCCU said.

CCCU Letter: https://www.cccu.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/CCCU-Letter-to-White-House-on-DACA-08.28.17.pdf

Rep. Phil Roe’s statement to The Stampede:

“For eight years, the Obama administration refused to enforce our immigration laws and tried to make law through executive action instead. America is a nation of laws. President Trump is right that we shouldn’t leave it to each administration to decide which laws it wants to enforce. Congress can and should address our broken immigration system, where we can lawfully and thoughtfully consider how best to secure the border and how best to deal with those immigrants who already here, including those in the First District.”

Sen. Lamar Alexander’s statement to The Stampede:

“Just as President Nixon went to China, President Trump uniquely can lead a revision of our immigration laws that secures our borders, improves our system of legal immigration and solves problems such as the 800,000 children who grew up here but were brought here illegally. I voted for such a law in 2013 and am willing to work with the president to do that again.”

In 2013, Alexander voted for the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013, which would have dramatically strengthened border security, ended de facto amnesty and helped fix our legal immigration system. The legislation would have allowed law abiding children who were brought into the U.S. illegally to apply for legal permanent resident status if they earned a high school diploma and completed at least two years of college or honorably served in the military for four years. The U.S. Senate passed the legislation, but the bill was not considered by the U.S. House of Representatives.

Sen. Bob Corker’s statement to The Stampede:

“The president is right to want this issue to be resolved legislatively. Hopefully, while addressing it, we also will deal with a myriad of other issues that need to be corrected with our broken immigration system, including enhancing enforcement and security measures.”

Graphic by Caleb Perhne.

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