Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin said Tuesday it was "pathetic" for President Donald Trump to refer to some people receiving protection through the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy as being "hardened criminals," and called him "cruel" on immigration.
"Each and every one of these 780,000 or 790,000 have gone through a thorough criminal background check to qualify for this protection," Durbin, D-Ill. appearing with ex-Secretary of State Janet Napolitano on MSNBC's "Morning Joe," said. "For the president to call them toughened, hardened criminals is just pathetic.
Trump tweeted with the Supreme Court deliberating whether he could end the policy former President Barack Obama started, that many of those protected are "no longer very young, are far from “angels.” Some are very tough, hardened criminals. President Obama said he had no legal right to sign order, but would anyway. If Supreme Court remedies with overturn, a deal will be made with Dems for them to stay!"
“[Trump] has been so cruel when it comes to immigration, particularly when it comes to children and young people," Durbin responded. "We hope the Supreme Court will hold them accountable for destroying the dreams of these 780,000 young people who want to be a part of America's future."
"We created DACA because this is a group of young people well deserving of to be in our country," Napolitano, who served under former President Barack Obama, said. "They've grown up in the United States. They have to have passed a background check so the president's comments about them being hardened criminals as the president said is just flat out wrong. This allows them to remain in the country without them having to look over their shoulder, without there being an ICE agent there."
Napolitano, now the president of the University of California, noted there are about 1,700 DACA students at the school, and some have graduated and gone on to become doctors, nurses, teachers and more
"They own businesses and they're in our military and these are just vital, vital young people who are positive contributors to our communities," said Napolitano.
Durbin said he does not know what the plan would be if the Supreme Court agrees that Trump can overturn the policy, but noted that recipients would all be subject to deportation and would not be legally allowed to work in the United States.
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