Hartford, CT – Last year, President Trump ended the DACA program, throwing the nearly 700,000 DACA recipients in the United States into uncertainty. Governors and members of state governments across the country, including our Democratic leaders in Connecticut, fought for DACA recipients, who were brought to this country as children.
As the leader of their party was threatening the future of thousands of young people, who are just starting college, careers, and families, how did Republican gubernatorial candidates respond?
- Mark Boughton suggested that nearly 700,000 people be reviewed on a case by case basis and pledged to comply with federal law. Mayor Boughton was also involved in a $400,000 settlement after 11 day laborers were delivered to immigration agents after being picked up by undercover city officers.
- Tim Herbst said it was up to members of Congress.
- Peter Lumaj said it was the first time “the American people are taking priority over the illegals” and said that all DACA recipients had committed crimes simply by being in the United States. In order to qualify for DACA, you must have been under the age of 16 when you first came to the United States.
- Mark Lauretti said it was out of his control and pivoted to another issue.
- Steve Obsitnik blamed Congress, without mentioning the person who ended the program in the first place, Donald Trump.
- Dave Walker said he would have “preferred they not rescind DACA.”
- Mike Handler, Erin Stewart, and Dave Stemerman said nothing on the issue.
Make no mistake, each one of these candidates had the opportunity to weigh in. This was a deliberate choice that they made as Republicans, as candidates, as Connecticut residents, and as neighbors to those that would be impacted. They use social media, speak to reporters, and hold public events – the failure to address this fundamental issue is a complete and abject failure of these candidates to stand up, lead, and fight for Connecticut families. They must be held accountable.
“What’s missing from all of these responses marks the fundamental difference between Democrats and the Republicans,” said Democratic State Party Chair Nick Balletto. “On this incredibly important issue, Democrats will fight for our neighbors while Republicans want to be Donald Trump’s immigration partners in the Governor’s Office. Connecticut voters have a choice: a Republican who will fail to stand up to their party leaders or a Democrat who will stand up for our most vulnerable.”