The Dream is Not Dead for DREAMERs

Our Senior International Correspondent, Thomas Lahey, writes an open letter to those Americans affected by the announcement of the repeal of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Executive Order. 

Look, I get it. I’m angry too. Why would a President who repeatedly said that he “loves” DREAMERs and wants to protect you, then repeal the DACA Executive Order, putting your lives and livelihood at risk unnecessarily? It’s a frustrating and seemingly irrational decision, but there is hope.

President Donald Trump couldn’t even face the cameras himself to announce his decision that he would jeopardise the legal status of over 800,000 DREAMERs who could face deportation to their countries of origin, despite their arriving in the US as children with their families, not having made the choice to come to the US illegally on their own. DREAMERs are among us everywhere. Serving in the military, working as educators, doctors, volunteers and studying in our schools from primary school all the way up to graduate-level education. They qualify for DACA because they haven’t committed any serious crimes and were under the age of 16 when they came here.

These are good people, contributing to American society and benefiting our economy, culture and communities in more ways that any commentator could possibly describe.

When DACA was issued in 2012, its intent was clear: protect those who arrived illegally as minors who did so because their parents brought them here and who are wholesome, law-abiding residents. Congress failed to pass the DREAM Act on several occasions because conservative Republicans wanted totally unrelated provisions, like increased border enforcement by way of personnel and funds, as well as expanded E-Verify requirements, included in the bill to win their support. The White House agreed; the Republican votes never came.

The decision taken today was not legally necessary. As President Obama said in a Facebook post today, “To target these young people is wrong – because they have done nothing wrong…It’s a political decision, and a moral question… It is precisely because this action is contrary to our spirit, and to common sense, that business leaders, faith leaders, economists, and Americans of all political stripes called on the administration not to do what it did today.”

He’s absolutely right. The Trump Administration made this decision to please its base. It’s about politics, not people. In doing so, the White House has shifted responsibility to Congress. Now is the time for action.

Urge your Member of Congress, regardless of party, to support the DREAM Act. The White House will try to force Congressional Republicans to make changes to the immigration system as a whole in order to secure support for this crucial piece of legislation, but make sure your Member or Senator knows that to support DREAMERs is to support the future of America. Don’t let them avoid taking a position on this issue, and call, petition, organise and demand your representative vote for your rights.

You are Americans in your hearts, in your minds, in every single way. It is cruel and inhumane to send you to a country you doesn’t know or remember, with a language you may not even speak. DREAMERs were brought here by their parents or other relations for a reason: for a better life with better opportunity. Let’s make this law, once and for all. Take action and fight for your rights. The dream is not dead.

This article was originally published in the Huffington Post.

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