(CMC) Caribbean American Congresswoman Yvette D Clarke has expressed deep concern about plans by the incoming Donald Trump administration to deport hundreds of thousands of young immigrants who have been allowed work permits under the Obama administration.
Clarke, the daughter of Jamaican immigrants, who represents the 9th Congressional District in Brooklyn, said that she and 105 of her congressional colleagues have written President Obama, urging him to prevent the misuse of information involving participants in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) programme.
Since the programme was established in 2012, more than 740,000 young men and women have obtained Social Security numbers and work permits, and have been allowed to remain in the United States without the threat of deportation.
“DACA has allowed hundreds of thousands of young people who know this nation as their only home to remain here and pursue the American Dream, by completing their education, starting businesses, and gaining employment,” Clarke told the Caribbean Media Corporation (CMC).
“I am deeply concerned that the incoming presidential administration has verbally expressed contempt for this very vulnerable segment of our population and will attempt to misuse the information provided by DACA participants by literally following through on threats of deportations,” she added.
Clarke said these young women and men have “increasingly become a significant part of the fabric of our community and are a vital part of our civil society, whose aspirations we should support.
“With their information and that of their families readily accessible to the incoming administration through the data that was collected in the administering of the DACA programme, it is imperative that all that can be done should be done to protect these young people from this looming threat,” she said.
“We call on President Obama to exercise his authority to protect the 740,000 people enrolled in DACA and prevent the exploitation of personal information that was submitted to the Department of Homeland Security,” Clarke told CMC.
With a crackdown on undocumented immigrants highly likely after President-elect Trump takes office in January, students from more than 80 universities across the United States last month staged class walkouts and engaged in campus sit-ins.
According to ThinkProgress, a publication of the Washington-based non-profit, Center for American Progress (CAP), the protesters were demanding that more universities and colleges become sanctuaries for undocumented students, and refuse access to US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials.
The campuses where these protests took place ranged from New York’s Vassar College and Iowa State University to University of Texas San Antonio.
Trump has promised to eliminate the Obama-era DACA, which allows undocumented immigrants who entered the country before age 16 to get a renewable two-year work permit and an exemption from deportation, ThinkProgress said.
It warned that Trump could either dissolve existing permits when he dismantles the executive order, or let them expire on their own.
“It’s unclear which option Trump will take,” ThinkProgress said. “There is no policy that protects the safety of undocumented students.”