ABOVE CARTOON: Milt Priggee, www.miltpriggee.com
By Marc H. Morial
“As the leaders of communities across the country — individuals and institutions that have seen these young people grow up in our communities — we recognize how they have enriched and strengthened our cities, states, schools, businesses, congregations, and families. We believe it is a moral imperative that the administration and the country know we are with them. We also join together to send our assurances to Dreamers: we see you, we value you, and we are ready to defend you.” – From an open letter signed by more than 1,800 governors, attorneys general, mayors, state representatives, judges, police chiefs and other leaders
An overwhelming majority of voters – about 85 percent – are opposed to deporting immigrants who are eligible for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. These “Dreamers,” as they are known, were brought into the United States as children, most of them younger than 7 years of age. About 90 percent of Dreamers are employed, more than 70 percent have attended college.
Despite widespread support for allowing Dreamers to remain, the Trump Administration has acquiesced to 10 state attorneys general who threatened to sue if it did not end the program. But even President Trump does not want to deport Dreamers. “Does anybody really want to throw out good, educated and accomplished young people who have jobs, some serving in the military?” he wrote on Twitter. “Really!…..”
Sadly, many of the people who voted for him do, and voted for him because he said he would do it. But even among the most hard-core supporters of the President, those who say they “strongly approve” of his performance, only a third favor deportation of Dreamers.
With this kind of support, it’s hard to understand why 800,000 hard-working, law-abiding contributing members of society are in danger of being wrenched from the only country they’ve ever known. Many do not even speak the language of the countries of their birth.
In addition to the human catastrophe deportation of Dreamers represents, the U.S. would lose about $460 billion in GDP over the next 10 years and about 700,000 people could lose their jobs.
Earlier this month, 15 states and the District of Columbia filed a suit seeking to stop the repeal of DACA. Last week, California filed a separate lawsuit, which was joined by Maine, Minnesota, and Maryland. Meanwhile, President Trump has struck a tentative agreement from the House and Senate Minority Leaders to support legislation protecting Dreamers in exchange for enhanced border security
While there is a chance that deportations of Dreamers will not occur, it’s shameful that they should be in a position to fear it at all. Dreamers trusted the United States government in enrolling in the program, now that very trust could be used against them. There is no justification for ending the program even as a legislative solution is sought.
Protecting Dreamers is quite simply the right thing to do. It is the moral thing to do. It’s the economically sound thing to do. And even though it shouldn’t matter, it’s the popular thing to do. We urge Congress to immediately pass legislation protecting Dreamers and call upon the Trump administration to reinstate DACA so no Dreamer has to fear deportation from the home they love.