Trump discourages ‘Dreamers’

The “Dreamers” make up an estimated 800,000 young people who, through no fault of their own, were brought to the United States as children. They have grown up here, attended school here, are part of the labor force and many own businesses or are professionals who contribute to the economy. Don’t they deserve better than all the political nonsense?

According to a poll conducted by The Associated Press Nonpartisan and Objective Research Organization (AP-NORC), conducted between Sept. 28 to Oct. 2, “About 60 percent of Americans favor allowing those young immigrants, commonly referred as ‘Dreamers’, to stay in the U.S. legally, compared to 22 percent who are opposed. Just 19 percent of respondents say all these childhood arrivals should be deported.”

When President Donald Trump ordered the phase-out of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program last month, he gave 150,000 Dreamers a chance to renew their work permits before March 5. Unfortunately, those whose DACA permits expire after March 5, 2018 are ineligible for renewal and thus will lose DACA protection.

Last month, Trump asked Congress to come up with a permanent solution for the Dreamers. In fact, Trump met with House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer in which Trump agreed to support DACA protections in exchange for a package of border security measures. It looked like legislation to normalize the status of Dreamers was a possibility.

On Sept.26 immigrant rights supporters gather in Washington D.C.

On Sept.26 immigrant rights supporters gather in Washington D.C.

Unfortunately for the Dreamers, the White House’s idea of “border security” means 370 new immigration judges and 1,000 new Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents to deal with the problem of unaccompanied children who cross the border. Trump also wants Congress to fix what he sees as the problem of asylum seekers. He wants to be able to deport them more quickly and easily than currently permitted under law. And, of course, he wants to build “the wall.”

In order to support DACA, Trump wants to improve “interior enforcement” which includes blocking funding to “sanctuary cities.” These are cities, like Dallas, that have refused to allow local police to act as immigration agents.

Police chiefs argue that when the police act as immigration agents, the undocumented fail to report crimes or participate in prosecution of criminals. Trump says he needs 300 new federal prosecutors and 10,000 new ICE officers.

How do these demands relate to Dreamers? They don’t. Reaction from Democratic lawmakers has been negative. Pelosi and Schumer said in a statement, “The administration can’t be serious about compromise or helping the Dreamers if they begin with a list that is anathema to the Dreamers, to the immigrant community and to the vast majority of Americans.”

Representative Michelle Lujan, D-N.M., said the president’s “draconian and anti-immigrant principle” threatened to jeopardize “the bipartisan, bicameral progress that has been made to pass a legislative solution that will protect nearly 800,000 Dreamers.” She said, “It is immoral for the president to use the lives of these young people as a bargaining chip in his quest to impose his cruel, anti-immigrant and un-American agenda on our nation.”

I’ve known one dreamer since she was in seventh grade. In spite of the fact that her mom and two younger brothers are all undocumented, she completed high school and got additional training at the Garland campus of Richland College.

She now has a job in an office and is taking care of two kids of her own, her mom and one of her younger brothers who is handicapped. She is now waiting for her last two year renewal of DACA.

It really upsets me that young people like her can’t be permanently accepted in this country. They are as much American as anyone born here. I suppose that there are people who believe she and other dreamers like her should be deported. I definitely do not.

For more information on DACA status provisions, visit the Department of Homeland Security website at www.uscis.gov/daca2017.