In a shocking move for many immigrants, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) plan was rescinded on Tuesday, by US President Donald Trump. Explaining it as a merciful move, as opposed to one that may have been taken by the courts, Trump reiterated that legitimate Americans must be put first. He blamed former President Barack Obama for neglecting American citizens, by giving rights and benefits to many outsiders. But Obama retorted that this scenario is strictly political and Trump’s decision to end DACA lacked basic decency.

Barack Obama angered at what he views as a heartless move

Stating that they were in the US through no fault of their own, Obama believes that the future of this group of DACA beneficiaries, should not be jeopardized. He then reminded that many of those young individuals have since started families, pursued careers and are upstanding, contributing members of society. The former President, under whose tenure DACA was implemented, lamented that removing their protection does nothing to help Americans by way of raising wages or lowering the unemployment rate. He is adamant that it is a spiteful and unnecessary move.

As of Tuesday, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) stopped processing any new applications for the program.

Authorities confirm that any applications received by Tuesday will still be processed and no one’s DACA status will be revoked before it expires. This comes as little comfort, however, to the hundreds of thousands of program beneficiaries and their families, who are now, all uncertain about their future.

Nearly 300,000 of them could begin to lose their status in 2018, while 320,000 would lose theirs from early to mid-2019.

As for those whose status will expire on March 5th, they will have just one month to apply for a new two-year permit. There is no guarantee of renewal. The Department of Homeland Security officials warn that anyone whose permit does expire can be viewed as an illegal immigrant and could be arrested and deported.

Trump stands by his “America First” agenda

In a written statement, the US President admitted that he did not “favor punishing children, most of whom are now adults, for the actions of their parents”. However, he was adamant that America remains strong because it is a “nation of laws” and called for others to respect that. He promised that the DACA issue would be resolved with compassion, but insisted that any immigration reform must first benefit American citizens. In Mr. Trump's opinion, Mr. Obama neglected to seek the interest of struggling and unemployed Americans, something that he would now prioritize.

Following Tuesday's revocation announcement by Attorney General Jeff Sessions, protests erupted with more than a hundred protesters marching past the Justice Department in Washington. They sang “we shall overcome” while hundreds also marched outside Trump Tower in New York, creating quite a scene. Police arrested at least 10 people who refused to evacuate the area.