WASHINGTON — The Trump administration’s decision to strip legal protection from thousands of so-called “dreamers” is cruel, immoral and unnecessary, former President Barack Obama said in a scathing statement that called on Congress to restore the protections that he created through the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

“To target these young people is wrong – because they have done nothing wrong,” Obama’s statement said. “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. What if our kid’s science teacher, or our friendly neighbor turns out to be a Dreamer? Where are we supposed to send her? To a country she doesn’t know or remember, with a language she may not even speak?”

Obama challenged claims by the administration that the program was legally precarious. He said the move against DACA was not required by law. “It’s a political decision, and a moral question,” Obama said. And he warned the move will ultimately undermine the economy and the strength of the nation.

“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 in the statement.

“Kicking them out won’t lower the unemployment rate, or lighten anyone’s taxes, or raise anybody’s wages.”

“Ultimately,” Obama’s statement said, “this is about basic decency.”

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.