Former President Barack Obama on Tuesday bashed his successor’s decision to rescind an immigration order shielding some children of undocumented immigrants from deportation, calling the move “cruel” and “self-defeating.”
“To target these young people is wrong — because they have done nothing wrong,” Obama wrote in a post on Facebook hours after the decision was announced by President Donald Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions. “It is self-defeating — because they want to start new businesses, staff our labs, serve in our military, and otherwise contribute to the country we love. And it is cruel.”
The lengthy statement is among Obama’s most forceful since departing office. Though he didn’t mention Trump by name, he sharply criticized the President’s motives and insisted rescinding the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program was not legally required.
“It’s a political decision, and a moral question,” Obama wrote. “Whatever concerns or complaints Americans may have about immigration in general, we shouldn’t threaten the future of this group of young people who are here through no fault of their own, who pose no threat, who are not taking away anything from the rest of us.”
Obama said he hoped lawmakers pass a bill allowing those eligible for the DACA program to remain in the United States. And he framed the decision as a question of “basic decency.”
“This is about whether we are a people who kick hopeful young strivers out of America, or whether we treat them the way we’d want our own kids to be treated,” he wrote. “It’s about who we are as a people — and who we want to be.”
Former Vice President Joe Biden also criticized Trump’s move.
“Brought by parents, these children had no choice in coming here. Now they’ll be sent to countries they’ve never known. Cruel. Not America,” Biden tweeted.