Bates College president calls Trump's DACA decision 'cruel'

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LEWISTON — Bates College President Clayton Spencer said President Donald Trump’s “cruel decision to rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy” should be quickly reversed by Congress.

“Ending this program runs counter to core American ideals and will cause unnecessary fear and uncertainty for thousands of students and families across the country,” she said in a statement issued by the college.

Spencer said that singling out and punishing “this group of engaged and talented young people, who seek the opportunity to learn and grow into productive members of our society, is a self-defeating action opposed by political leaders of both parties and by a majority of the American public.”

Trump said that immigration law should be enacted by Congress, not by presidential dictates such as the one his predecessor used to shield from deportation Americans who came to the country as undocumented children.

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All of Maine’s members of Congress said this week they supported passage of immigration reform that would protect the 800,000 ‘dreamers’ who have signed up for the DACA program since President Barack Obama created it as an administrative policy.

Spencer said Bates is “communicating our concerns to Maine’s congressional delegation and urging them to act quickly to approve legislation that restores the protections of DACA in a meaningful and durable manner.”

Meanwhile, she said, the college “remains committed to admitting students without regard to their immigration status and to ensuring the safety and support of all students while on campus. All admitted students, regardless of their status, are eligible to apply for institutional, need-based financial aid, and we meet the full, demonstrated financial need of any admitted student.”

scollins@sunjournal.com

Bates College President Clayton Spencer talks in her office in Lane Hall in Lewiston in February 2016.

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