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Bay Area Politicians Slam Expectation of DACA Withdrawal

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    The possibility that protections could come to an end for young immigrants in the United States triggered sharp responses from Bay Area politicians. Robert Handa reports. (Published Monday, Sept. 4, 2017)

    The possibility that protections could come to an end for young immigrants in the United States triggered sharp responses from Bay Area politicians.

    House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Sen. Dianne Feinstein and San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee lashed out at President Donald Trump on Monday after they heard the commander in chief is expected to dismantle the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, program — but with a six-month delay, sources told NBC News.

    DACA has given approximately 800,000 young undocumented immigrants the opportunity to stay in the country and work legally in the U.S. in the form of two-year, renewable work permits.

    If President Trump follows through, Congress is expected to use the six-month delay window to decide whether it wants to address the status of the legislation, sources told the Associated Press. 

    Pelosi issued a statement Monday urging leaders of Congress to protect those directly benefiting from the program.

    "President Trump’s decision to end DACA should break the hearts and offend the morals of all who believe in justice and human dignity," part of her statement read. "This cruel act of political cowardice deals a stunning blow to the bright young DREAMers and to everyone who cherishes the American Dream."

    Lee, in a statement issued Monday, said that doing away with DACA would "continue to divide our community and tear families apart."

    "This is an entire generation of young people — approximately 800,000 people — who have only known America as their home," part of his statement read. "They are hard-working individuals and diligent students who only aspire to achieve their dreams of educational excellence and economic prosperity. Their families fled to America from war-torn countries and dire economic straits because they saw this country as a place of refuge and hope. To punish them for seeking a better life is unconscionably cruel."

    Prior to Monday, Feinstein took to Twitter and pledged her support for DACA on multiple occasions.

    "There are more #DACA recipients in California than in any other state," one of her tweets read. "We stand with them. We have their backs. #HereToStay"

    Dave Cortese, the president of the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors, said agencies are already gearing up to assist the county's estimated 20,000 Dreamers.

    "One of the things we'll be prepared to do tomorrow and every day after that is put local resources into helping people who are Dreamers, who are impacted by this decision," Cortese said.

    Kevin Gaytan is part of a group of Dreamers graduating from a special county government internship program Tuesday. He said no matter what, he won't hide in the shadows.

    "Understanding that we have a platform in which we have solid allies is definitely reassuring, to make sure we continue to fight," Gaytan said.

    NBC Bay Area's Robert Handa and the Associated Press contributed to this report.

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