Former state representative and Orlando lawyer Anthony Suarez has quit the Republican Party in protest of President Donald Trump‘s policies and rhetoric, capped by Tuesday’s announcement he was phasing out the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.
Suarez, a leader in Central Florida Hispanic politics, particularly Puerto Rico politics, announced he was changing his voter registration to independent, and advised Orange County Republican Chairman Lew Oliver Tuesday of his intention.
It’s not the first time Suarez has changed party affiliation. He started as a Democrat, and then switched to the Republicans early in the 2000s.
The DACA program, initiated by former President Barack Obama in 2012, allows young adults who came to this country as small children, brought by undocumented parents, to stay. For many, the United States is the only home they’ve ever known. On Tuesday U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced it was ending, that the governments would accept no new applications, and those currently enrolled in the program had six months left before it would expire. In the meantime, Sessions and Trump called on Congress to pass an immigration reform bill.
“The actions of the president of the United States Today in cancelling DACA program is the final straw for me,” Suarez said in a written statement to the media. “Putting the future of these children as hostages of the Congress, with the directive that if they are to be saved then Congress must do it, at a time when Congress cannot even decide when to recess is cynical and mean spirited. These innocent children should not be played with or compromised. Congress should not be placed in a position of saving the future of 800,000 future Americans or provide funding for the budget or for a wall against Mexico.
Suarez blamed the Republican Party leadership, which he charged has “failed to denounce the President in so many offensive remarks in the last several months which include all the pillars of our democracy from the courts, to the legislators, to the media (fourth estate) to women, gays, and veterans such as John McCain.“
“Just as we cannot equate Nazis as ‘decent people’ and no self respecting American could possible walk alongside of these hate mongers, so I cannot stand with fellow Republicans that stand with Trump,” Suarez added. “To defend any portion of Trumps agenda (even we might agree with portions of it) is to give him credibility, to justify him is some way and to let my credibility to his. NO I cannot do so.”