Atlanta joined 40 cities and counties across the nation this week in filing court papers in support of preserving an Obama administration program that has temporarily shielded from deportation more than 600,000 young immigrants.
At issue is the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program, or DACA, which also grants temporary work permits to immigrants who were brought here as children. The Trump administration’s efforts to phase out the program are now stalled in federal court.
Meanwhile, President Donald Trump is threatening to veto the $1.3 trillion spending package Congress adopted this week to avert a government shutdown because it does not fully fund his proposed southwest border wall and because “DACA recipients have been totally abandoned by the Democrats.”
In Georgia, 21,600 people have been granted DACA. Of those, 15,700 have resided in the Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell area and 1,500 have lived in Gainesville. Nationwide, 689,800 people have been accepted into the DACA program.
“Six years ago, President Obama took action to create a pathway for law-abiding immigrant youth to avoid deportation and have a shot at achieving the American Dream,” Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said in a prepared statement. “While administrations may change, the City of Atlanta’s values have not. Instead of tearing families apart and using young people as bargaining chips, governments should work together to protect hardworking youth who make our economies and communities stronger, and make meaningful strides in creating a sensible immigration system.”
Last year, then-Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed condemned Trump’s decision to phase out DACA, calling it “a shameful abdication of moral leadership.”
Related: Fifteen states sue to block Trump’s cancellation of DACA
While the city has won applause from immigrant rights supporters for standing up for DACA, Atlanta has also drawn criticism because the City Detention Center holds immigrants facing removal from the U.S. as part of an arrangement with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. The city is paid $78 a day per each ICE detainee held in the jail, according to documents obtained by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
More: Atlanta mayor under fire amid debate over illegal immigration
Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.
Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.
Download the new AJC app. More local news, more breaking news and in-depth journalism. AJC.com. Atlanta. News. Now.
Download the new AJC app. More local news, more breaking news and in-depth journalism.
With the largest team in the state, the AJC reports what’s really going on with your tax dollars and your elected officials. Subscribe today. Visit the AJC's Georgia Navigator for the latest in Georgia politics.
Your subscription to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism. Visit the AJC's Georgia Navigator for the latest in Georgia politics.