Mesa Mayor John Giles: DACA is a moral issue, not a political one



Coming up next, the end of DACA . We'll talk about immigration law about today's decision. We'll speak with a young DACA recipient and hear from the mayor who opposed ending the program. Also tonight, how the season opener for the black theater troupe reflects current national headlines, those stories next on "Arizona Horizon."
Ted Simons: The Trump administration announced the end of DACA, a program that protects 800,000 young undocumented immigrants from deportation. Jeff sessions made the announcement this morning.

Jeff Sessions: I'm here to announce the program known as DACA effectuated under the Obama administration is rescinded. To have a lawful system of immigration that serves the national interest, we cannot admit everyone who would like to come here. It's just that simple.

Ted Simons: Sessions says that the program will end in six months. A move that will allow congress to come up with an immigration plan that could include those protected by DACA. There are nearly 28,000 young people in Arizona with DACA status and today's announcement led to a variety of responses including protests. Protesters gathered outside of the headquarters of immigration and customs enforcement or i.c.e. After the announcement to end DACA and there were reports of students walking out of south mountain high school in protest of the decision. John McCain came out against the decision saying I strongly believe children who illegally were brought into this country at no fault at their own should not be forced to return to a country they do not know. 800,000 people granted deferred action are pursuing degrees, starting careers, and contributing to our communities in important ways. Jeff Flake took twitter it should be evident from the fear and confusion surrounding DACA that executive actions have a short shelf life and a poor substitute from permanent bipartisan legislation to fix our system. There are a lot of innocent young kids counting on congress to do its job. And former president Barack Obama who signed DACA in to place said on Facebook page, quote, this is about basic decency. This is about whether we are a people who kick hopeful young strivers out of America or whether we treat them the way we want our own kids to be treated. It's about who we are as a people and who we want to be. Today's announcement gives a six-month window before the DACA program ends. What does that mean for DACA status and their families, friends, co-workers, teachers? Here now to explore the legal issues in all of this is Angela Banks, Sandra Day O'Connor School of Law. Thanks so much for joining us. Appreciate it.

Angela Banks: Appreciate you having me.

Ted Simons: To set the standard here, what exactly did the administration do today?

Angela Nanks: There are three main points to keep in mind about what the administration did. The first is any individual who currently has DACA which is essentially deferred action saying they won't be deported and employment authorization documents that they can work here valid for two years, anybody that has that, the expiration date on those agreements are still standing. If your DACA does not expire for another year, you're good for that year. The second main issue is anybody who has a pending application for DACA, meaning that you're applying for the first time or seeking renewal and the government has not made the decision on your case, those cases are still going to be decided. The department of homeland security says that they are going to adjudicate those applications on an individual case-by-case basis. Those applications will move forward. The third category is for individuals who have DACA but that has not been -- but it will expire sometime between today and march 5 of 2018, they have until October 5 to file for renewal.

Ted Simons: Okay. Now -- I want to get all of that. But in the grand scheme of things, why did the administration make this move?

Angela Banks: So it appear ifs you look at the statement from the acting secretary of department of homeland security and attorney general Jeff Sessions, they made this move because they felt that executive action was not the way to address the situation for dreamers and that it was more appropriate for congress to act. And so they wanted to undo the executive action that President Obama had done and throw the ball into congress' court to have a more durable solution.

Ted Simons: And there was something of a deadline to all of this, correct?

Angela Banks: Correct. So a number of attorney generals -- state attorney generals had threatened to sue the Trump administration if the Trump administration did not rescind DACA and that deadline was September 5.

Ted Simons: That suit had to be taken seriously because the avenue through the courts it would take similar to what DAPA, the family -- the parents of these children took. And that's a relatively conservative path.

Angela Banks: The fifth circuit held that the administration did not follow the proper procedures of the administrative protection act, but those rules and guidelines had not been adequately followed. A strong likelihood those rules had not been followed and the Supreme Court affirmed that decision. So there was a likelihood that a similar suit regarding DACA could find that the APA was not properly adhered to.

Ted Simons: So we have six months for congress to do something. If congress does nothing in six months, can the administration say, you know what? We're going to let this lawsuit go through? Or because of today's announcement, does that mean in six months, it is over?

Angela Banks: so it's interesting. I think it's important that the six months a little confusing, I think, because essentially what the announcement said today was that say there will be no new DACA granted -- no new applications allowed to be adjudicated from today forward. But the existing DACA grants that may last for another year or another two years are still valid and they will be valid until they expire.

Ted Simons: So if I -- if I applied for a renewal yesterday, something along those lines, I could be in this country for two more years?

Angela Banks: Very likely. That is possible. In the past, you met the criteria for DACA and your application was granted, you were granted a two-year reprieve from deportation and two years of work authorization. So if -- and so the administration has announced they will continue to do individual case-by-case adjudications. It's unclear whether or not the adjudication process will change. But it's a process from the past continues, people could be granted a two-year reprieve.

Ted Simons: That's renewal, correct?

Angela Banks: Correct.

Ted Simons: If I just applied for the first time tomorrow --

Angela Banks: Right.

Ted Simons: No dice.

Angela Banks: That is not an option for you. If you applied for a new one yesterday, you could get --

Ted Simons: Isn't that interesting. If I’m an employer and I have some workers who are DACA status, what am I thinking? What am ill doing here?

Angela Banks: You want to know what does their employment document say. How long can they work in the United States. Whatever the date is the date that the administration will honor.

Ted Simons: Interesting. So, again, it's a six-month deadline, but the deadline is it goes here, it goes there. It kind of crosses back and forth.

Angela banks: Right. That's why the six months a little confusing. We get the six months in saying if you currently have not applied for renewal and your DACA will expire by March 5, which is about six months, then you have until October 5 to renew -- to file an application for renewal. But after -- if you're a DACA was set to expire say March 7 and you haven't submitted an application for renewal, there may not be an avenue available for you.

Ted Simons: So what, you're deported.

Angela Banks: So this is interesting. There's been a lot of concern about what citizenship and immigration service which is the department within the department of homeland security that deals with DACA applications. What will they do with all of the information they have. They have stated they are not going to proactively give that information to i.c.e. There are certain conditions under which c.i.f. Already provides information to i.c.e. If someone is a safety or national security or handful of other categories, unless you fall under those, cis will not proactively share that information with i.c.e.

Ted Simons: If they were to share that information, I’ve heard it argued, that could be considered entrapment.

Angela Banks: That is an argument that's been raised and one of the ways in which things get more complicated in immigration law is entrapment is addressed within criminal law and immigration is a civil context and so it's the one question, how do some of those doctrines and ideas from criminal law get imported into the civil law context of immigration law.

Ted Simons: Last question. Answer me this. Joe Arpaio is pardoned of a crime, convicted of a crime, pardoned. Why can't these people be pardon?

Angela Banks: One of the issues that comes up is it's not a criminal offense for criminals to be in the United States without authorization. And so the pardon -- there would be no criminal conviction to pardon an individual for. But what the purpose of DACA was to exercise prosecutorial discretion. Who would be deported. Prosecutors all the time decide who to go after and who not go after. This is an exercise of that discretion in the administration in 2012 and this administration is saying they're not willing to exercise the same form of discretion.

Ted Simons: Their discretion will be different in six months or by -- or certainly within two years.

Angela Banks: Right.

Ted Simons: Wow. Good information. Good to have you here. Thanks for joining us.

Angela Banks: Thank you for having me.

Ted Simons: Up next on Arizona Horizon, reaction from today's decision to end DACA from a DACA recipient and the mayor of Mesa on the impact of the move on his city.

Ted Simons: As we mentioned, congress has a six-month window before the DACA program ends. That gives lawmakers to address the program along with comprehensive immigration reform. But a congressman Grijalva said it's no deal. It should be a stand-alone issue.

Raul Grijalva: We shouldn't have hostage taking here. We shouldn't say we are going to do DACA in exchange for a law. We're going to do DACA in exchange for something in the budget. We're going to do DACA in exchange for more restrictive and tougher immigration entrance requirements as part of immigration reform. It should be stand-alone. The issue we're dealing with.

Ted Simons: The end of DACA has far-reaching effects, not just for the young people protected by the program, but also for Arizona cities and the state's economy. Joining us now is a senior organizer for Lucha, a pro immigrant rights. She herself has DACA status. And Mesa mayor who was opposed to ending the program. Good to have you both here.

Abril Gallardo: Thank you for joining us.

Ted Simons: Your thoughts today.

Abril Gallardo: well, throughout this week, since last week, we've heard over and over rumors that DACA could potentially end. And I could almost feel a little bit of relief that I can go home tonight and go to sleep without thinking, what was going to be the announcement? And also the announcement is scary for many people because we know the end of DACA will impact economically to DACA recipients. We also know that it was inhumane what this administration was doing having us since last week leaving on tweets and rumors that DACA could end.

Ted Simons: At least you know what you know now.

Abril Gallardo: Yes.

Ted Simons: All right, I want to get back to that in a second here. You came out thinking -- and saying -- that this is not a smart move, not a wise move. Why do you say that?

John Giles: Well, this doesn't accomplish anything. In terms of moving the ball of making things better for anybody. It's -- it's troubling on a couple of basis. On a moral basis, mentioned earlier in the program, this is a bait and switch. This is a cruel thing to do to 800,000 patriotic young Americans. On a practical point of view, forcing these people back in to the shadows doesn't help anyone. It weakens our economy and cities like mesa and it sends a terrible message to the community.

Ted Simons: What are you hearing from other mayors?

John Giles: Mayors are strongly coming out against this. I've been on many conference calls with the U.S. Conference of mayors, universally, I don't know any mayors who are supportive of this.

Ted Simons: Do people you know like yourself with DACA status, do they understand? We just had a legal expert on this. Explain to us what this means as far as renewal, as far as it means new applicants, those who are thinking of joining up, the whole nine yards. People get this, do they understand what this all means? The six-month deadline.

Abril Gallardo: There were a lot of dates that were thrown out there so were working very hard with help of national organizations like united we dream and local organizations here in Arizona to really break down that for applicants. But what we know are that no new applicants can apply. So for example, if you perhaps could have qualified for DACA, you could no longer apply. However, the deadline on the renewal for example, my DACA expires in 2019, I will not be able to renew with the guidelines they have given.

Ted Simons: With that knowledge in mind, what are you thinking?

Abril Gallardo: We have a month until October 5 to help as much as -- as many individuals whose DACA will expire by march of 2018. And we know we have received tremendous support for -- from different immigration attorneys, but also we're going to be hosting DACA clinics and that's the immediate response that we need to do.

Ted Simons: As far as the city of mesa is concerned, this move -- how does it affect the economy? How does it affect life in your town?

John Giles: It's going to send people back in to the shadows. It's -- again, it's morally reprehensible to encourage people to come out and to encourage their hopes and dreams of becoming -- participating members of society and then pull that rug out from under them.

Ted Simons: Please --

John Giles: Just frankly from a public safety point of view, we can -- the trust we have in the immigrant community and the Hispanic community when we pull stunts like this.

Ted Simons: Do your constituents agree with you on this?

John Giles: I believe so. I don't see this as a partisan issue. I see it a as morality issue. I'm a republican. I know a lot of people of similar political persuasions that don't see this as a -- as a political issue. They see it as a moral issue and honoring the commitment we made to these people five years ago.

Ted Simons: Attorney general sessions today said there's nothing compassionate about the failure to enforce immigration laws. Enforcing the laws saves lives, protects the communities, taxpayers, and prevents human suffering. Your thoughts on that statement.

Abril Gallardo: What I know is that DACA recipients like myself are teachers who are teaching our children in our public schools. DACA recipients are nurses, are parents, are students, here in our universities. 69% of them are working on part of this workforce and -- or go to school. And so the matter of fact is, yes, they can take DACA away. But in contrary to what the mayor of mesa said, we're not going to go back to the shadows. They can take our DACA away, be uh they can't take away the skills, the political power we build, and we're going to continue to try.

Ted Simons: The attorney general said the DACA result in a surge of unaccompanied minors on the southern borders, yielded terrible human consequences, denied jobs to hundreds of thousands of Americans, that's what he said today. Do you disagree?

John Giles: Absolutely. This is not going to help anyone. This is not going to free up jobs that natural born citizens are filling. It's not an in some zero sum game. We don't -- natural born citizens are not going to benefit just if we are cruel to folks that are trying to enter our country. That's not the way the economy works. The more we include the immigrants in our community, to allow them to participate, to have jobs, to receive benefit, to pay taxes, the better it is for everyone in our economy.

Ted Simons: And yet the attorney general said the rule of law must be followed.

John Giles: The rule of law makes us a great country but it's tempered by justice and mercy and a strict interpretation of the law without taking compelling issues into account is not what this country is about.

Ted Simons: When you hear the attorney general of the united states say the rule of law must be followed.

Abril Gallardo: All I can think about is what happened a few weeks ago with the pardon of Arpaio. I -- if the rule of law were to be followed, Arpaio should be in jail right now, and not trying -- and they should not be trying to criminalize and target and putting young immigrants in deportation proceedings because they want to continue to dream just as anyone in this country.

Ted Simons: Last question for you, very quickly. Are you worried?

Abril Gallardo: I am -- I am worried as far as economic -- the economic impact that it will have in my life. I'm currently a student at Phoenix College. And on my pathway to transfer to Arizona State University. I'm worried I’m going to have to pay out of state tuition again. I am worried that I have a car payment and I have to pay rent and I’m worried that my job -- that my -- I may not be able to work. Once my DACA expires. But I’m also grateful and I’m positive that we will continue to organize and we'll win something that does not criminalize our families.

Ted Simons: Good to have you both here. Thank you for joining us. We appreciate the conversation.

Abril Gallardo: Thank you.

Ted Simons: Caroline includes a subplot that includes the toppling of a confederate statue, a theme that could fit in to today's headlines. David Hemphill is the executive director of the black theatre group. He joins us now. Good to see you again.

David Hemphill: Glad to be here thank you so much.

Ted Simons: Caroline or change? What is this all about?

David Hemphill: Well, it is a musical written by Tony Kushner from Angels of America fame. One of the important subplots in the production is the confederate statue issue. It takes place in 1963 in Louisiana. St. Charles, Louisiana. And the -- it's about a young woman that is a maid and she works for a Jewish family. So she has the younger daughter that is -- it's a forefront of civil rights in that particular time and era. So what people fail to think about is that it addresses the proliferation of confederate statues in the country. There was a great surge in the building of these statues at the turn of the 20th century. And then a big expanse of them from 1950 to the height of the civil rights era and that was done to intimidate the African-Americans. So it's no different in Louisiana with this particular story.

Ted Simons: We've talked about that in Arizona. A few of the monuments, there are six of the state. And many of these were put up in that time. This play, this musical written in 1997?

David Hemphill: No, 2003.

Ted Simons: No, I thought I had 1997 -- but anyway, long before -- long before we're going through right now. When did you decide to put this on?

David Hemphill: We decided to put it on last season. We thought it would be a good time to do it. We didn't think it would be so prevalent at this time. It was an issue back then. It was an issue when the play was written and an issue today.

Ted Simons: Tony Kushner said of everything I’ve done, I’m proudest of this one. This harkens back to his childhood back in Lake Charles, Louisiana.

David Hemphill: Based on a lot of the upbringing. And the family was very active in the civil rights movement.

Ted Simons: Your thoughts about the performance and political issues within theater productions. Where do you stand on that?

David Hemphill: I think it's very, very important. I mean theater and the arts are a reflection of our society. Long after we're gone, people will look about -- look at some of our -- some of our art and see what was going on at the time. I don't doubt they'll sometimes be some great production written about DACA. That's the stand -- that's a sounding board for all kind of issues.

Ted Simons: This one, September 15 to October 1, correct?

David Hemphill: October 1.

Ted Simons: You have a 15-piece musical orchestra? What's going on here?

David Hemphill: Four cellos. Two pianos, reeds, a bassoon. It's a big and ambitious piece of work. That's how it's written. The theme itself is brought about by appliances. All of the appliances in Caroline’s life, they talk. And with the piece, the light motif, the washing machine is represented by a bassoon. It's an ambitious undertaking.

Ted Simons: And I understand it’s everything from Motown, gospel, blues, R&B, Jewish folk music.

David Hemphill: Klezmer music. The main theme takes place during Hanukkah. So there's the Hanukkah celebration and the joyous music. A wide range of music.

Ted Simons: Sounds like quite a show. September 15 through October 1. And good luck on the season.

David Hemphill: Thank you so very much.

Ted Simons: Good to see you again. Thanks for joining us. We appreciate it.

David Hemphill: Thank you.

Ted Simons: Wednesday on Arizona Horizon, the latest on Joe Arpaio's attempt to have his criminal conviction vacated in light of being pardoned by the president and a summer camp connects kids with nature in the middle of the city. Those stories and more on the next "Arizona Horizon". That is it for now. I'm Ted Simons, thank you so much for joining us. You have a great evening.

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In this segment:

Raul Grijalva: Member of the U.S. House of Representatives (AZ-03)
John Giles: Mayor of Mesa
Abril Gallardo: LUCHA Senior Organizer

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