Leadership requires bipartisan compromise. Come together to protect the Dreamers.
We have made so much progress in the last fifty years since Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s passing. But looking at headlines of the last couple weeks it is more clear than ever that there is still much work to be done.
Consider the headline, "After 30 years, Michigan dad deported to Mexico". Let that sink in. Jorge Garcia is a father who came to this country when he was 10 years old, has lived and paid taxes in Michigan for 30 years, has never been convicted of a crime, married an American citizen and has two American children. Jorge was deported yesterday. We failed Jorge, his family, and the many other people who didn't make it into a headline. It's unacceptable.
Jorge did not qualify for protections under DACA - he was one year too old. The Dreamers could share his fate if Congress fails to protect them. We are talking about people that were brought to the US illegally as children. They have grown up in America and are, for all intents and purposes, American. They are educated in our public schools, consumers of our businesses, and active in our communities. Many of them hope to attend our colleges one day and to give back to our country. For some, this is the only country they can remember and English is the only language they speak. America is their home, too.
DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) prevents them from being deported and allows them to work and support themselves and their families. In September, the Justice Department, under the Trump administration, first announced DACA would end, and that approximately 800,000 young immigrants would be deported. Cancelling DACA and deporting the Dreamers, who committed no crime, is not the work of a great nation.
Beyond the fact that cancelling DACA is cruel, the consistent uncertainty is no better. Since the Trump administration’s first announcement, there have been regular changes to the future status of these Dreamers. In the last week alone, Trump said he would be open to a deal for the Dreamers, and a federal judge ruled that the administration could not legally end DACA. There began to be hope for the Dreamers.
But after President Trump’s unacceptable and disgusting remarks during an immigration meeting last week, and the subsequent battle lines being drawn over whether or not he said them, it seems that a bipartisan plan proposed by Senators Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Dick Durbin (D-IL) has hit snags.
Ultimately, President Trump has thrown Washington into chaos. We elected our leaders to lead, not to yield to the chaos and give in to injustice. Senators Graham and Durbin have shown leadership by coming together to put country over party in spite of Trump's divisiveness. It's up to our own leaders - Senators Portman and Brown, and Rep. Jim Jordan to join and support their attempts at bipartisan reform.