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Kathy Castor: It’ll be ‘colossal error’ for Donald Trump to dump DACA

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

Kathy Castor says it would be a “colossal error” if President Donald Trump decided to pull the plug on the Obama-era program that protects undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States as children.

“It’d be a real economic blow, but also a blow to the students that only know America as their home,” the Tampa based Representative said Wednesday after participation in a press event at Robles Park. “It’d be a misguided and hateful action to do that.”

Created by the Obama administration in 2012, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program gives so-called “Dreamers” temporary work permits and protects them from deportation if they submit biometric data to the government, pass a background check and maintain a clean record.

Noting how the GOP-led Florida Legislature passed a bill several years ago allowing such students to get in-state tuition, Castor says that Florida has invested in these students, and says it would be a huge mistake for the President to turn his back on them now.

Castor says that there were rumors that the Trump administration was poised to rule against DACA at the beginning of this week, but Hurricane Harvey has possibly put that decision on hold, for the short term, anyway.

Trump has been all over the map on what he really thinks of DACA.

On the campaign trail, he said that he would “immediately terminate” DACA. After his election, though, he appeared to be softening on the issue, telling ABC’s David Muir in an interview that recipients “shouldn’t be very worried.” He added: “I do have a big heart. We’re going to take care of everybody … But I will tell you, we’re looking at this, the whole immigration situation, we’re looking at it with great heart.”

Forcing the issue is the fact that attorneys general in 10 states threatened to sue the government unless the Trump administration starts to dismantle the program by Sept. 5.

More than 800,000 people, often called Dreamers, have participated in the program as of earlier this year, according to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

Referring to last Friday’s presidential pardon of former Phoenix Sheriff Joe Arpaio, Castor fears the worst when it comes to what the Trump administration will do on DACA.

“I think that’s a sign that Trump is going to continue to play to his base and be as divisive as possible, and then what we’re going to watch over the next few weeks is, does he insist on building this wasteful border wall and will he really risk shutting down the government? That really seems completely out of bounds with what is happening in Houston and Louisiana.”

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Mitch Perry has been a reporter with Extensive Enterprises since November of 2014. Previously, he served as five years as the political editor of the alternative newsweekly Creative Loafing. He also was the assistant news director with WMNF 88.5 FM in Tampa from 2000-2009, and currently hosts MidPoint, a weekly talk show, on WMNF on Thursday afternoons. He began his reporting career at KPFA radio in Berkeley. He's a San Francisco native who has now lived in Tampa for 15 years and can be reached at mitch.perry@floridapolitics.com.

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