WASHINGTON - (Update: Adding Rep. Knute Buehler statement)
Oregon lawmakers and the governor were swift in voicing reaction to President Trump's decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program that protected nearly 800,000 young undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children from deportation.
As one might expect, the state's lone Republican in Congress, Rep. Greg Walden, was supportive of the move, urging Congress to act in the six-month window established by the administration, while the Democrats expressed strong opposition.
First, Walden's statement, in full:
"I’ve long been a supporter of stronger security on America’s borders -- countries that do not have control of their borders do not have control of their national security. That is what will lead us to much-needed immigration reform, and it is vital to fixing our broken system.
"America’s legal immigration system, like other federal bureaucracies, is in need of reform. The current system does not work, and it is past time for Congress to act on this issue.
"Like all Americans, I have compassion for those who entered our country unlawfully as children and are now in limbo in our immigration system. These are kids who know no other country as their home and were brought here through no fault of their own at a young age. It is up to Congress to find a permanent solution.
"I appreciate that President Trump recognizes the need for Congress to act to address this problem. As we move forward, I will continue to work with my colleagues in Congress and the administration to secure our borders and fix our flawed immigration system."
Here's what Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., had to say:
"This effort from the White House to punish hundreds of thousands of innocent young Americans and split apart families goes against our American values and further divides our nation,” Wyden said.
“I will be fighting tooth and nail alongside my Senate colleagues to preserve the ability of these young people to continue to contribute to our country. Congress must come together and work on comprehensive immigration reform and a fair path forward for DREAMers.”
This is the full statement from Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore.:
“President Trump’s move to go back on our promise to DREAMers is not only heartless, it’s shortsighted. Since DACA was implemented five years ago, 11,000 Oregonian DREAMers have strengthened our local economies and the fabric of our communities. These are young Americans who came here through no fault of their own as children, and know no other home. DREAMers are productive and contributing members of our society, and ending this program would be not only a heartless betrayal, but also a devastating $460 billion blow to America’s economy.
“America is a nation that keeps its word – but President Trump fundamentally betrayed that promise today. This is not ‘law and order’; this is tearing families apart and shaking the foundations of our local economies.
“We cannot turn our back on nearly 800,000 courageous young leaders. These are our friends and our neighbors. I won’t stand idly by as President Trump tries to recklessly and heartlessly remove them from this great nation. I’m going to fight vehemently to ensure that they can keep contributing to the nation that they love.”
Gov. Kate Brown issued this statement:
"As Governor, I hear from Oregonians across the state working hard to provide for their families and prepare their children for success. I hear their hopes and aspirations, and I also hear their fears over an uncertain future as the White House takes action to terminate the DACA program.
"Here in Oregon, Dreamers are an integral part of our workforce and contribute over $6 million to our state’s economy. Dreamers embody the ideals of the American Dream, and for so many, the United States is the only home they know.
"I am deeply troubled by federal orders that seek to tear apart otherwise law-abiding families and undermine Oregon’s economy. I call on Congress to step up and push back against the White House’s reckless immigration policies. We need to take a thoughtful approach to immigration reform and must work to empower families and children with the tools they need to reach their greatest potential.”
Rep. Knute Buehler, R-Bend, who is running for governor, had this view to share:
And this statement was issued by Oregon House Speaker Tina Kotek:
“President Trump's decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival Program (DACA) is a disgrace and a betrayal of America's most fundamental values. We are a better nation than one that targets hard-working young people who trusted us to help them pursue the American Dream. I urge Congress to reaffirm DACA and keep our promise. I will stand in solidarity with Oregon's DREAMERS and our immigrant communities as we work together to make Oregon a welcoming place for everyone.”