Mayor Pete discusses Trump DACA decision
SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg says President Trump’s decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program is like pulling out the rug from underneath those who rely on it.
“I’m in the business of trying to grow this community,” Buttigieg said. “We’re trying to add, not subtract, especially when you have quality individuals. And that’s what you have with a lot of these Dreamers. And they deserve better from Washington than what we saw today.”
The world saw Attorney General Jeff Sessions make an announcement Tuesday morning that calls to ‘Defend DACA’ would not be met by the Trump administration.
Buttigieg said that decision will hurt the city, including the 1,000 or so people in South Bend who are directly affected by the Obama-era program.
“There are students that I’ve met who are extraordinary minds,” he said. “The kind of people I’d like to keep in South Bend, hopefully starting businesses, creating jobs, contributing to the community. I think they’ll make great citizens if they get the chance. All they’re asking for is the chance. And our community is weaker if these people, who are in our midst, who have a lot to offer, are told that they don’t belong and put under threat of being suddenly removed from what is often the only family and the only community that they know.”
He’s calling on Congress to put politics aside and focus on people’s actual lives and livelihoods, as lawmakers consider an alternative to DACA over the next six months.
But in South Bend, Buttigieg said the mission for his office is to keep building on a sense of belonging.
“We don’t do federal immigration enforcement,” he said. “So, for example, the South Bend Police Department, they’re here to keep you safe, and it doesn’t matter who you are. They’re not going to do federal immigration authority’s job for them. We’re going to focus on making sure that this is a great community for everybody who’s here.”
North Central Indiana AFL-CIO President Tony Flora said that commitment to belonging is important to maintain in South Bend.
“I have colleagues here in South Bend, who I’ve worked with on immigration reform – they grew up here as children,” Flora said. “They went to school here. They went to college here. They work here. And we’re about to turn to them and say, we’re kicking you out of our country. We have the potential to kick you out of our country. This achieves nothing other than set Americans against Americans.”
The Trump administration is calling on Congress to figure out an alternative for the 800,000 people in America who are currently protected under DACA.
They have six months to do it.
We reached out to all of Michiana’s lawmakers to see how they’re beginning to approach this process.
You can read the statements we received by clicking here.