Immigrant youth had been waiting for a permanent solution to their immigration problems for more than a decade. DACA, the executive program created by President Obama in 2012, shielded them precariously and temporarily from deportation and provided a work permit and social security number, opening up important opportunities for the beneficiaries.
Immigrants’ worst fears materialized this past November 2016 with the election of Trump, and as we reported in Lacey and Larkin Frontera Fund, those in power are fighting to dismantle DACA.
Today, July 20, 2017, a bi-partisan DREAM Act was introduced by long-time champions Senators Richard Durbin (Dem.) and Lindsay Graham (Rep).
It is an uphill battle.
Right away, President Trump opposed the creation of DREAM Act 2017 with his usual malignant tweets. Be assured that the voices of the extreme right, the anti-immigrants and racists are screaming against the DREAM Act and DACA.
DACA-DREAMers and their allies will embark on the difficult task of fighting to defend DACA and the permanent solution offered by the DREAM Act, simultaneously. They never should let DACA go before the passage of the DREAM Act is secure, or their lives will turn into a nightmare. Equally, the fight for the DREAM Act should be non-stop, no matter what.
There is too much at stake for our communities. DREAMers are part of our lives and the economy. Ninety-five percent of them have jobs, or go to school, or do both. Many have families of their own, pay mortgages and own cars. Their stories of perseverance grace our lives and make our country better.
We cannot let these lives collapse as a result of political pettiness.
Congress has an incredible opportunity to act with decency and common sense for a change.
It is time to demonstrate that the U.S. is a beacon of freedom.