McCain: 'Decision to eliminate DACA is the wrong approach to immigration policy'

Senator McCain and Flake comment on Trump's decision to end DACA program.

After the Trump administration announced Tuesday plans to rescind the DACA program Arizona Sen. John McCain quickly released a statement saying it was the "wrong approach."

"President Trump's decision to eliminate DACA is the wrong approach to immigration policy," McCain said in his statement, "at a time when both sides of the aisle need to come together to reform our broken immigration system and secure the border."

The Obama administration program was designed to protect undocumented immigrants who were brought into the United States as children. In his statement, McCain said he believes the children under DACA who were brought here illegally "through no fault of their own" shouldn't be "forced" to go back to a home country some barely even know. 

"The 800,000 innocent young people granted deferred action under DACA over the last several years are pursuing degrees, starting careers, and contributing to our communities in important ways," McCain said.

While McCain doesn't agree with President Obama's, what he and Attorney General Jeff Sessions referred to as a, "unilateral" approach on DACA -- McCain said he believes eliminating the program is an "unacceptable reversal of the promises and opportunities that have been conferred to these individuals."

“The federal government has a responsibility to defend and secure our borders, but we must do so in a way that upholds all that is decent and exceptional about our nation," McCain said.

Although, USA Today reports, the Department of Homeland Security will stop accepting new DACA applications, current DACA recipients will not be affected until March of 2018. According to a statement from the DHS, immigrants with DACA permits that expire before then can apply for a two-year renewal, but must do so before October 5.

With the announcement to rescind DACA, the Trump administration invited Congress to preserve the program, within six months, through legislation. President Trump tweeted Tuesday telling Congress to "get ready to do your job."

Sen. Jeff Flake also released a statement Tuesday saying the DACA decision heads back to Congress "where it belongs":

“It should be evident from the fear and confusion surrounding DACA that executive actions have a short shelf-life and are a poor substitute for permanent, bipartisan legislation to fix our broken immigration system. The ball is back in Congress’ court where it belongs, and there are a lot of innocent kids counting on Congress to do its job. Congress must act immediately to pass permanent, stand-alone legislation to lawfully ensure that children who were brought here by their parents, through no fault of their own, are able to stay and finish their education and continue to contribute to society.”

McCain, who has strongly pushed for compromise within Congress, said he'd be working with both his Republican and Democratic colleagues to "devise and pass comprehensive immigration reform, which will include the DREAM Act.”

USA Today contributed to this report.

© 2017 KPNX-TV


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