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PRINCETON: Mayor Lempert blasts Trump administration’s decision to end immigrant program

By Philip Sean Curran, Staff Writer
Mayor Liz Lempert on Tuesday criticized the Trump administration for ending a five-year-old federal program that has shielded from deportation some 800,000 illegal immigrants brought to the country as children.
The government, over the next six months, intends to phase out the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, created in 2012. The move gives Congress time to act to pass legislation impacting their immigration status. Princeton is home to illegal immigrants, mostly from Central America. Mayor Lempert said ending DACA, as the program is known, “is a cruel decision that will tear apart families, undermine our economy and betrays our values.”
“DACA recipients are in school and college, holding jobs, paying taxes and contributing to our local and national economies,” she said in a statement issued in English and in Spanish.
She was not available for comment, citing a busy schedule.
Princeton is among the so-called sanctuary city towns in New Jersey that do not comply with federal immigration detainers, although the municipality does not use the sanctuary city label for itself. The town has found itself squarely at odds with the Trump administration on immigration and a range of other issues.
On Tuesday morning, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced that the government would be ending DACA. Sessions has maintained that the program was an unconstitutional end-run around immigration laws by the Obama administration, led to a surge of minors crossing the southern border alone and took jobs away from American citizens.
“We are people of compassion and we are people of law,” he said. “But there is nothing compassionate about the failure to enforce immigration laws. Enforcing the law saves lives, protects communities and taxpayers and prevents human suffering.”
Princeton University President Christopher L. Eisgruber, who had appealed last week to President Donald Trump not to end DACA, on Tuesday wrote to Congressional leaders urging them to act to protect “these young people.”
“I strongly believe that such action would be in the national interest, in addition to being very much the right thing to do,” he wrote to bipartisan leaders in both houses of Congress. “I hope Congress will take this action and will take it quickly.”
For her part, Mayor Lempert echoed that sentiment.
“We urge Congress to act quickly to create an immigration system that is fair, just and moral,” she said. “In our community, we will work with our local residents to understand the impact of this decision and continue to support them.”
Superintendent of Schools Stephen C. Cochrane could not be reached for comment Tuesday.

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