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House Republican says ending DACA provides immigrants with ‘opportunity to live in the shadows’

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During an interview with an NBC reporter on Wednesday, immigration hardliner Rep. Steve King (R-IA) offered an unusual spin on the Trump administration’s decision to end the DACA program that protects undocumented immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children, claiming it offers an “opportunity” for them “to live in the shadows.”

“They came here to live in the shadows, and we’re not denying them that opportunity to live in the shadows,” King said, in response to a question about what he expected DACA recipients to do when their authorizations expire. “They should make up their own mind.”

But the whole point of DACA was to allow young people who in many cases haven’t lived outside the U.S. to have an opportunity to live out of the shadows. The program has been effective — roughly 95 percent of the nearly 800,000 DACA recipients are either working or in school. Removing protections that allow those young adults to have jobs and pursue degrees will hurt the U.S. economy and damage DACA recipients’ mental health by throwing their future into chaos.

King, however, has previously said he thinks there are “awfully bad people” among immigrants protected under DACA, and has publicly celebrated their deportations under Trump.

King also has a history of making inflammatory comments that echo and receive praise from white nationalists.

During a CNN interview last month, King suggested DACA recipients should turn in their parents in exchange for amnesty.

“What about their parents then?” King said. “If it was against their will, then it had to be their parents who are responsible, and I’m still waiting for the first DACA recipient to say so and sign an affidavit that says, ‘I didn’t really do this on my own accord, my parents brought me in, they should have the law enforced against them, give me amnesty.’ I’m not hearing that from the DACA people.”

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