Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead believes immigration laws require Congressional action, and that now is the time for it, he said on Thursday, September 7.
“In terms of the impact of President Trump’s action to people in Wyoming and all other states, in the long term, we must look to Congress,” Mead wrote. WyoFile had asked the governor to comment on President Trump’s decision to phase out the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA) and how it might affect the estimated more than 600 beneficiaries of the program living in Wyoming.
Mead called for Congress to act with compassion, quoting a message from Speaker of the House Paul Ryan.
“At the heart of this issue are young people who came to this country through no fault of their own,” Ryan said. “For many of them it’s the only country they know … It is my hope that the House and Senate, with the president’s leadership, will be able to find consensus on a permanent legislative solution that includes ensuring that those who have done nothing wrong can still contribute as a valued part of this great country.”
Mead also sought to reassure DACA recipients in Wyoming by pointing to a Thursday tweet from President Trump, who promised there would be no deportation action taken on DACA recipients during the six month period he has set for winding down the program.
“In my view, this period of no action gives Congress time to act,” Mead wrote.
In comments to the Wyoming Tribune Eagle, Wyoming’s congressional delegation voiced support for Trump’s decision to rescind DACA. Sens. Mike Enzi and John Barrasso also offered tempered compassion for those engaged with the program.
Wyoming’s American Civil Liberties Union representative, Sabrina King, scoffed at Mead’s assurances.
“To suggest DACA recipients will not feel any impact during that time is to grossly underestimate how deeply the uncertainty of DACA will be felt by Dreamers in Wyoming,” King wrote in a statement to WyoFile.
“Our political leadership needs to step up to the plate, and not just in Congress, though Senators Barrasso and Enzi and Representative Cheney should absolutely support the Dream Act,” King said.
“Our governor, legislative leadership, mayors, school boards — anyone with a voice in a position of power should be speaking out and letting Wyoming Dreamers know they are supported and that we will fight as a state to protect DACA.”
Mead, a former federal prosecutor heading a conservative state, has disappointed Wyoming immigration activists with his deference to federal immigration law before.
In July, Mead said he did not believe in the idea of sanctuary cities because he believed cooperation between local and federal law enforcement was key to public safety.
On May 1, more than 100 people joined a march to Mead’s office organized by Cheyenne immigration group Juntos, according to a report from the Wyoming Tribune Eagle. There, the protesters delivered a letter asking Mead to support Wyoming’s undocumented residents.