File Photos/Collage By Brian W. Carter

Antonio Villaraigosa, the former Speaker of the California State Assembly and the 41st Mayor of Los Angeles, issued the following statement regarding news reports that President Donald Trump plans to announce a halt to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program this week.

Said Antonio Villaraigosa:

“Last week, President Trump pardoned Sheriff Joe Arpaio, a bigot who was found in criminal contempt of court, and this week news reports indicate he plans to end a program that benefits primarily Latinos brought here at a young age. If he ends DACA – and thus denies the dreams and the contributions of these hard-working and highly productive young Americans – there can only be one reason: raw bigotry.

“These young Americans, brought here by their parents as children, have known no other country. They are as American as any of us. They have followed our laws, worked hard in school, paid taxes and many have served in our military to defend our freedom and values. They ARE Americans – plain and simple.

“Removing them is an attack on our most cherished values as a nation. And make no mistake, it will also undermine our economy.

“These hardworking young people contribute billions each year to our economy. Forcibly removing them will not create jobs, it will destroy jobs. That fact was proven by a study released by the Center for American Progress, which was conducted by UC San Diego associate professor Tom K. Wong.

“We must speak together with one voice to challenge this bigotry – and stand together to defend our fellow Americans now facing the threat of deportation.

“Once again, California will help lead this charge, but this is the fight of every American who shares our nation’s cherished values of tolerance, freedom and equal opportunity.”