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House And Senate Leaders Hold Enrollment Ceremony For 21st Century Cures Act

Win McNamee/Getty Images

Late Tuesday morning, in the immediate aftermath of Attorney General Jeff Sessions announcing that the Trump administration was ending the DACA program effective six months from now, a number of the biggest-name lawmakers commented on the action.

Responses were mixed, but they leaned toward the need for Congress to provide a long-term solution.

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, while critical of former President Barack Obama implementing the program by executive order, said in a statement that he wants to find a permanent solution for those who were brought to the country as children.

“Their status is one of many immigration issues, such as border security and interior enforcement, which Congress has failed to adequately address,” Ryan said. He added that he hopes both houses and the president can “find consensus on a permanent legislative solution” that makes sure DACA beneficiaries “can still contribute as a valued part of this great country.”

Meanwhile, Nancy Pelosi, his counterpart as House Minority Leader, issued a statement of her own, one describing Tuesday's announcement as “a deeply shameful act of political cowardice” and demanding the Republicans bring a legislative DACA replacement to a vote immediately.

“Deporting DREAMers means destroying the lives of hundreds of thousands of patriotic young people, costing the economy billions and betraying the fundamental values of the American Dream,” she said. Pelosi added that she felt the move was a “cruel and heartless decision” that "demands an immediate response from the Republican Congress.

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), called it “the wrong approach to immigration policy at a time when both sides of the aisle need to come together” on immigration, adding that DACA recipients “should not be forced to return to a country they do not know.” He added that “while I disagreed with President Obama's unilateral action,” the Trump reversal is the wrong move.

In addition:

  • Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) said in a tweet thread that “executive actions have a short-shelf life and are a poor substitute for permanent, bipartisan legislation to fix our broken immigration system” and that Congress must act immediately to pass permanent, stand-alone legislation to keep the “dreamers” in the country.
  • Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) issued a statement saying that “it is important that the White House clearly outline what kind of legislation the president is willing to sign,” as the time limit means “we have no time to waste on ideas that do not have the votes to pass or that the president will not sign.”
  • Rep. Dave Reichert (R-Wash.) noted in a statement that he has cosponsored bills seeking to provide permanent solutions for the “dreamers.”

As of this writing, the DACA page on the website for U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services does not reflect the administration's announcement.

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