Missouri lawmakers speak on DACA

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COLUMBIA - The Trump administration announced Tuesday the end of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). 

The program protected nearly 800,000 young undocumented immigrants in the U.S. from deportation.

In a statement, U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Missouri, said ending this program is counterproductive.

"Taking young people who were brought here through no fault of their own, and have never known another country, and kicking them out of America is as dumb as it is counterproductive," McCaskill said. 

McCaskill called out for Republican leaders in Congress to use this as an opportunity "to finally stop sitting on their hands and tackle this issue so there is certainty and the rule of law to allow these young people to keep contributing to America."

U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Missouri, in a statement called for a permanent solution for people in the DACA program and said it is Congress' responsibility to work toward this solution. 

"The young people in the DACA program need a permanent, commonsense solution that will allow them to continue working," Blunt said. "At the same time, it is imperative that we continue working with the president to strengthen our border security." 

Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler, R-Missouri, is in support of rolling back DACA, citing it as a way to reform immigration laws. 

"The policy change ends an Obama-era executive overreach while allowing time for the representatives of the people to address this issue," Hartzler said. "We need to reform our immigration laws so that those who want to enter our country legally to contribute to our society and better their lives have the opportunity to do so." 

The move sets in motion for Congress to decide if they want to preserve the program's protections before DACA recipients start losing their status March 5, 2018. 

Any DACA member whose permit expires by March 5 has until October 5 to file for a two-year renewal. 

Starting Tuesday, the Department of Homeland Security will no longer be taking new applications for DACA.

The University of Missouri leadership released the following statement: 

“DACA students are hardworking, bright individuals who have much to contribute to our society in many disciplines, including the sciences, humanities, arts and social sciences. Many have persevered to attend college to better themselves and contribute to American society. For these reasons, we request a fair and compassionate solution to support the young people who have been placed in desperate situations through no fault of their own."

The UM system currently has more than 35 DACA students attending the University of Missouri system campuses. 

According to the Migration Policy Institute, the state of Missouri has accepted 3,883 applications as of March 2017.